Second Case Of Pertussis Confirmed At A Lexington High School

Jan 24, 2019

The second case of pertussis, or whooping cough, has been confirmed in a Lexington High School.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is notifying parents at Henry Clay High School of a confirmed case of pertussis, This is the second confirmed case in Lexington this year. The earlier case was at Tates Creek High School.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory illness spread by coughing and sneezing. It affects people of all ages but can be most serious in infants and those with chronic diseases. The health department continues to work with Fayette County Public Schools to make parents aware of the threat of pertussis.

The health department is recommending preventive antibiotics for high-risk students who were exposed to pertussis. This includes students with a chronic illness or weakened immune system and those who live in households with someone with a chronic illness or weakened immune system. Also, households with an infant or pregnant women should check with a health care provider about getting vaccinated. 

Any school-age children with symptoms of pertussis should stay home from school and visit their health care provider for evaluation, even if they have previously been vaccinated. If found to have probable or confirmed pertussis, they should remain out of school until completion of their antibiotics. For more information about pertussis, call 859-288-2437.

The early symptoms are similar to a common cold: runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and coughing. After 1-2 weeks, the cough often gets worse, changing from a dry, hacking cough to bursts of uncontrollable, sometimes violent, coughing. During a coughing episode, it might be temporarily impossible to take a breath because of the intensity and repetition of the coughs. When finally able to breathe, the person might take a sudden gasp of air, which can cause a “whooping” sound. Vomiting and exhaustion can often follow a coughing spell.