Whooping Cough Report for McHenry County

A press release from the McHenry County Health Department sent through the Sheriff’s Department’s emergency notification system:

McHenry County Department of Health Educates

Community of Pertussis (WHooping Cough):

31 confirmed cases in McHenry County

Pertussis (or whooping cough) cases now include one high school, 2 middle schools and 2 elementary schools spread across three communities.

  • Cary-Grove High School in Cary has 24 confirmed cases of pertussis,
  • Crystal Lake’s Lundahl Middle School and
  • Cary’s Deer Path Elementary each report two (2) cases, and
  • one (1) case each from Cary Junior High and
  • Briargate Elementary from Lake in the Hills,

according to the McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH).

Frequent hand washing, respiratory hygiene (ie,

  • covering the mouth,
  • coughing into tissues,
  • disposing of tissues properly)

and staying home when ill are important practices to limit the spread of infection.

Students who are receiving antibiotics need to remain at home for five (5) days to complete the course of treatment. Returning to school earlier could allow pertussis to spread. MCDH reported 51 cases of pertussis in 2009 and 9 cases in 2010.

MCDH is providing weekly updates to physicians, school officials and local hospitals.

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection that causes a range of illnesses, from mild cough to severe disease.

It is easily spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing.

Symptoms of pertussis may appear 5 to 10 days following exposure but can take up to 21 days.

The first symptoms are similar to those of a common cold – runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and a mild, occasional nonproductive cough.

The cough gradually becomes severe and, after 1 to 2 weeks, an individual will have bursts of numerous, rapid coughs with a distinctive “whooping” sound.

While it can be mild in some persons, it poses a greater risk for infants who are not fully immunized (until 4-6 years old), immune compromised individuals, and older persons.

If you or your child have symptoms or questions on whether the vaccine is needed, contact your physician.

Persons with pertussis should be excluded from school, work or other group settings until they receive appropriate evaluation and treatment.

Parents should be sure to keep children up to date with recommended pertussis vaccinations; an adolescent/adult pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) should be given to those aged 11-18 before entering high school.

For more information on pertussis, visit www.mcdh.info or call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Division at 815-334-4500.

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