BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Boulder County Health Department is warning parents about an outbreak of pertussis at Boulder High School. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a contagious illness that is spread when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
Health officials said multiple students have been diagnosed with pertussis. Symptoms usually develop 7-10 days after exposure and include a runny nose, sore throat and severe coughing. Someone with pertussis may look and feel fine between coughing episodes and may not have a fever.
People who are immunized can still become ill from pertussis. According to the health department, the illness tends to affect older children and adults because their immunity decreases from the time they were immunized as a child.
Boulder County Public Health recommends that students with pertussis stay at home until five full days of antibiotic treatment have been completed. Parents are also asked to review their student’s immunization record to make sure they are up-to-date with vaccinations. Pertussis is commonly included in the routine “tetanus booster” vaccination.
In younger children, pertussis can be very severe, including hospitalization, seizures, long-term neurological problems and death. The risk of disease is especially high for infants who are not yet old enough to complete the primary series of four doses of pertussis vaccine.