CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County School District officials say that a case of whooping cough has been confirmed at Park School.
The announcement of whooping cough, or pertussis, was made earlier on Wednesday, January 15, 2020; however the school district did not initially release the name of the school.
The release of the school name came after procedure was followed, according to a written statement from NCSD just after noon, Wednesday.
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The District statement follows:
[January 15th, 2020], the Natrona County School District worked in partnership with the Casper-Natrona County Health Department, and the Wyoming Department of Health to inform our community of a recent confirmed case of whooping cough (pertussis) in our community. We greatly appreciate the dedicated partnership of our county and state health officials who are committed to assisting us in providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, staff, and school visitors.
Our first step was to directly provide information with the parents/guardians at the affected school to allow sufficient time for them to receive official information in order to make an informed decision regarding their individual child’s health and school attendance.
Soon after, information was shared with our entire community. At this time, all appropriate processes and communication channels have been completed. As such, we can confirm, the reported case of whooping cough was at Park Elementary.
The below information has been provided by the Casper Natrona County Health Department, in conjunction with recommendations provided by the Wyoming Department of Health, to assist parents/guardians and community members in making informed health decisions for their families:
“Pertussis, also known as ‘whooping cough,’ is a bacterial disease of the respiratory tract that can be easily transmitted from one person to another. The disease is spread by respiratory material containing the bacteria from an infected person who sneezes or coughs. The disease is most serious in infants and children of preschool age. Pertussis symptoms usually start within 5 to 10 days after exposure to an infected person but may take as long as 21 days. Initial symptoms may include a cough, sneezing, fever, and a runny nose. Within two weeks, the cough may become more severe with periodic episodes of intense coughing which may be followed by vomiting. These prominent coughing episodes can help distinguish pertussis from a regular cough.
If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of pertussis as described above, we strongly recommend you contact your healthcare provider to see if pertussis could be causing the illness. The ill person must stay home from school until pertussis has been excluded or they have received an appropriate antibiotic for at least 5 days. It is also important that staff who may have pertussis stay home.
Immunization against pertussis is the most effective way to prevent the disease. However, some people can still develop an illness even after vaccination. During this time of pertussis disease in our community, it is especially important to make sure you and your child are up-to-date on the pertussis vaccine and boosters.
Individuals that are not vaccinated have no protection against pertussis and are at a much higher risk for contracting and spreading pertussis to others. It is imperative that those unvaccinated limit exposure to infants and those who are immunocompromised.
For more information about the pertussis vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider or the Casper-Natrona County Health Department at 307-235-9340.
Standard healthcare precautions can be taken to prevent the spread of disease. Common disinfection procedures of surfaces with all-purpose cleaners like bleach are adequate for removal of the pertussis bacteria. Frequent and proper handwashing is first-line prevention from many common illnesses. To further avoid the spread of illness, if you are sick and have symptoms please stay home, consult your healthcare provider if necessary and cover coughs and sneezes.”
The Natrona County School District follows standard cleaning protocols at all schools on a daily basis. However, in light of this recent event, additional precautionary cleaning measures will be taken.
If we receive additional confirmed reports, parents and guardians at the affected school(s) will be directly contacted, and we will work together with Casper Natrona County Health Department to release additional information, as available.
Please direct health-related questions to your healthcare provider or the Casper Natrona County Health Department.
Thank you for your patience and consideration as we work together, as a community, to ensure safe and healthy learning environments for our studentsNatrona County School District #1 Written Statement, January 15, 2020