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New Case of Whooping Cough Reported at Bethesda School

UPDATED, Sept. 5, 11:45 a.m. –

There is another new case of whooping cough in Montgomery County and this one is at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, bringing the total number of cases in the county to of Centers for Disease Prevention sign

Montgomery County Health and Human Services Spokesperson Mary Anderson told MyMcMedia Friday that a student at the school is being treated for pertussis.

A letter explaining the respiratory illness is expected to be sent home with Walter Johnson students today, Anderson said.  The Walter Johnson student did attend the Pennsylvania camp that reported the outbreak, Anderson told MyMCMedia.

Originally 12 kids with some connection to a summer camp in Pennsylvania had been confirmed with pertussis, an extremely contagious respiratory disease. Anderson said three of those original cases were lab-confirmed and nine others were epidemiologically linked, meaning they showed symptoms of the illness and were linked to someone at the camp who had pertussis. The original 12 kids are students at Cabin John Middle School in Potomac and Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville, Julius West Middle School in Rockville and Cold Spring Elementary in Potomac. Anderson said more than 200 Montgomery County children attended the camp.

Since then a student at Bethesda’s Thomas S. Wootton High School, who was also connected to the Pennsylvania camp, was reported to have pertussis. And, a Sherwood High School student in Sandy Spring who had nothing to do with the camp has been confirmed by a laboratory test to have pertussis, according to Anderson.

“We get cases of pertussis every year,” Anderson said. “In a different year this Sherwood case would have happened and we would have never heard about it. It is of interest now because we have had all these other cases that are linked.”

In 2010 the county reported nine pertussis cases; in 2011- 18; in 2012- 78 and in 2013 there were 40 cases, according to Anderson.

So far in 2014, the department reported 35 cases included the 15 students.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pertussis is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins, which damage the cilia and cause inflammation. Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease.

Pertussis spreads easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing, according to the CDC website. A person with pertussis can infect up to 12 to 15 other people. The illness can be serious and life threatening to infants and young children, according to the CDC.

Gaithersburg High Reports Latest Case of Whooping Cough


There has been another case of whooping cough in Montgomery County, this time at Gaithersburg High School. Mary Anderson, spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, confirmed to MyMCMedia Friday that a student at that school has been confirmed to have pertussis, a highly-contagious respiratory illness. That makes the 16th case of the […]

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Health Department Still Tracking Whooping Cough Outbreak (Video)

photo of Cindy Edwards

Officials with the Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services are still tracking the outbreak of whooping cough in Montgomery County, but as of Sept. 4 no additional confirmed cases have been reported. The department’s Cindy Edwards, senior nurse administrator for communicable disease and epidemiology, talks about pertussis and the status of the outbreak […]

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Whooping Cough Outbreak Reported At Four Schools in Montgomery County

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UPDATED, Sept. 2, 11 a.m.- Parents at four schools in Montgomery County have been notified that their children may have been exposed to a contagious respiratory illness known as Whooping Cough. According to Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Dana Tofig, those schools include: Julius West Middle School in Rockville, Cabin John Middle School in Potomac, […]

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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

Krista Brick is a multi-media journalist with Montgomery Community Media.


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