Adams Update – Pertussis Information 5.9.18


Dear Parent/Guardian/Staff of Adams Elementary School:

 It is the 4J School District’s policy to inform parents when potential health concerns arise in our schools. This letter is to inform you that at least 1 individual has been diagnosed with Pertussis (whooping cough) at Adams Elementary School. We are obliged by law to keep the identity of the ill individuals confidential.  This is NOT a medical emergency. The Lane County Health Department, in partnership with school officials, is responding to the situation.

Please know that we are reviewing with students and staff the importance of covering coughs and frequent hand washing.  Following up on these messages with your child at home will help us keep students and staff healthy.
Lane County Health Department recommends the following:

  • If your child has symptoms of pertussis – as described below – please keep them home from school and consult with their health care provider. Tell your provider that your child may have been exposed to pertussis.
  • Ensure your child is up to date on his or her immunizations. Contact your health care provider or school to review vaccine records. 
  • If you are pregnant and have contact with Adams Elementary School, call your health care provider to discuss prevention options during pregnancy.

What is Pertussis?

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious disease of the respiratory tract, caused by bacteria found in the mouth, nose, and throat of an infected person. Pertussis is spread through direct contact with nose and throat mucus and airborne droplets.


Pertussis can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at the highest risk of life-threatening consequences.

 Immunization is the most effective way to prevent the spread of this illness. Handwashing and good respiratory etiquette are also helpful in preventing the spread of this infection.


Symptoms of pertussis include cold-like symptoms followed in one to two weeks by coughing fits that can keep coming for weeks to months.  During coughing attacks, young children may gag, gasp or strain to inhale, and/ or make the high-pitched whooping/ barking sound. This may be followed by vomiting or exhaustion. Fever is usually absent or minimal.

 Treatment and Prevention:

Pertussis is treated with antibiotics, usually for 5 days.

 Women in the third trimester of pregnancy and children under the age of 1 should also be on close watch for early pertussis symptoms including any cold like symptoms. Medication may be necessary to prevent infection or to decrease the risk of spreading the infection to newborns.

 Immunization is the most effective way to prevent pertussis. Children need a series of five DTaP vaccinations starting at two months of age until kindergarten. Adolescents (age 11-12 y.o.) and adults need a Tdap booster vaccine. Women should receive a dose of Tdap during the third trimester of each pregnancy.


  • Now is a good time to review your child’s immunization record to see if they are current on all vaccinations and get them up to date.
  • Pregnant women should receive pertussis vaccine preferably at 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation, so that they can develop antibodies to pertussis and pass them to their babies before birth.
  • If your child has symptoms of pertussis, keep them at home, consult their health care provider, call the school, and contact the Health Department.


When sick with infectious illnesses, remember that frequent handwashing with soap and water, staying home, and covering your coughs and sneeze will prevent others from getting sick.


 If you have further questions, please call Lane County Public Health 541-682-4041.

Thanks for everything you do to support you learner and Adams Elementary.


Principal Kevin



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