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GAHS: Pertussis Notice
Terry McGuire
Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gardiner Area High School

  40 West Hill
Gardiner, ME 04345
 207-582-3150

 Jackie Pare’         Chad Kempton         Steve Ouellette

Assistant Principal               Principal               Assistant Principal/

      Athletic Director

To: Parents/guardians/staff

Subject: Exposure to Pertussis

Date: August 31, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I am writing to inform you that we were informed by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) that we have a student who has tested positive for Pertussis (commonly known as Whooping Cough) and are working with the family of the student and the CDC.  In doing so, we want to provide you with information about Pertussis so that you can monitor your child for signs and symptoms of the illness.

Pertussis is an illness that is spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Pertussis usually begins with symptoms of a common cold (sore throat, and runny nose) and often develops into a severe cough. The cough can last for several weeks or more.  Most children are vaccinated against pertussis, but it is still possible for vaccinated children to become ill.  Babies are most at risk of serious illness.

Individuals who are not symptomatic (ie. not coughing) do not need to be excluded from activities and do not need to be tested.  Antibiotics are not routinely recommended for casual contacts of pertussis cases, but may be recommended to household members.

To prevent the spread of pertussis in your community, we are making the following recommendations:

  • If your child has or severe cough (may include coughing to the point of gagging, vomiting after coughing or difficulty breathing) or a prolonged cough lasting 2 weeks or longer, please contact your health care provider. If your provider suspects pertussis, they will obtain a specimen to be sent for pertussis testing.

  • Children/Adults with severe cough, prolonged cough or confirmed pertussis will be started on antibiotics and will need to remain at home for 5 days while taking these antibiotics.  

  • Please check with your medical provider to be sure you and your child are up-to-date on pertussis vaccine. Most children had the vaccine series before the age 7 years, but their immunity to the disease may gradually wane over time. Booster shots (Tdap) are now recommended for children 11-18 years old.  A single Tdap shot is also recommended for adults, especially adults who have contact with infants and young children.  A Tdap booster is recommended with every pregnancy

If you have further questions, please contact our school nurse, Nora Diversi at 207- 582-3150 ext. 3347

Sincerely,

Chad Kempton

Principal

Gardiner Area High School