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Nine cases of whooping cough confirmed at Valley View schools

Dayton Daily News - 5/29/2024

May 29—Nine cases of whooping cough have been confirmed that are related to the Valley View school district, according to Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a common, highly contagious disease, characterized by severe coughing fits. It can be prevented by a vaccine.

Year to date, there have been 43 cases in Montgomery County residents, according to the public health department, but only the current nine are related to the Valley View district.

Kathie Lucas, spokeswoman for Valley View schools, said the district is in session until June 6 and has provided an informational letter to parents.

Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County, said it's not uncommon to have a high number of cases of whooping cough in a year.

"Vaccination is the best protection against pertussis, and it is recommended that everyone eligible get the vaccine," he said.

Whooping cough typically begins with cold-like symptoms and sometimes a mild cough or fever before progressing to severe coughing fits which can include uncontrollable, violent coughing and whooping, which can make it difficult to breathe.

Infants and young children often catch the illness from a family member or other caregivers and are most at risk from serious complications. Babies with pertussis may not cough, but may gag and gasp instead, as well as have a symptom known as "apnea," which is a pause in a child's breathing pattern.

Pregnant women are strongly recommended to have the whooping cough vaccine as it provides some protection to young babies as well. Infants can't get the vaccine until they are two months old.

"More than half of infants less than one year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized, and in rare cases, pertussis can be deadly," said Dr. Becky Thomas, Public Health — Dayton & Montgomery County's medical director.

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