photo of Centers for Disease Prevention sign

Whooping Cough Outbreak Reported At Four Schools in Montgomery County

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, Robert Frost  Middle Schools in Rockville  as well as Cold  Spring Elementary School in Potomac.

Montgomery County Heath and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson told MYMCMedia Tuesday that there were not additional reported cases since last week.

ORIGINAL POST- 

There is a confirmed outbreak of pertussis also known as Whooping Cough in Montgomery County and so far 12 children have been diagnosed with the contagious respiratory illness.

According to Montgomery County Heath and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson, the kids are students at Cabin John Middle School in Potomac and Robert Frost Middle School in Rockville and all attended a science camp in Pennsylvania over the summer where they were exposed to the illness. Anderson said more than 200 Montgomery County children attended the camp.

A letter dated Aug. 28 was sent home with students in both those schools warning parents to watch for signs of the illness.

photo of Bordetella pertussis bacteria

Bordetella pertussis bacteria
Photo | CDC

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.

Although parents got a letter from the camp alerting them of their child’s exposure to pertussis, it is possible the children did not show symptoms of the illness for weeks later, Anderson said. It can take two or more weeks for someone infected to show illness.

“This could get to be more infected cases because it is pretty contagious and kids aren’t always the best at covering their coughs,” Anderson said. Most children get a vaccine  called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. But, Anderson said, sometimes the vaccinations are ineffective.

Anyone diagnosed is reported to the Maryland Heath Department and then in turn reported to the county’s health agency. Symptoms include a runny nose and a cough that sounds similar to a bark, according to the CDC.

From January 1 to August 16, 2014, 17,325 cases of pertussis have been reported to CDC by 50 states and Washington, D.C.; this represents a 30 percent increase compared with the same time period in 2013, according to the CDC. Anderson said in 2013 there were 196 confirmed cases of pertussis in Maryland.

Related:

Gaithersburg High Reports Latest Case of Whooping Cough

gburghigh

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

photo of Centers for Disease Prevention sign

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, […]

Read more

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Krista Brick

About Krista Brick

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

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