One case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, was confirmed on February 7, 2018 in a Watauga County Schools student attending Watauga High School. On Saturday, February, 10, 2018, AppHealthCare (local health department) became aware of a second case in a student attending Cove Creek Elementary School.

School and health officials report both individuals diagnosed with pertussis are being treated, per guidelines established by the State of North Carolina and the Centers for Disease Control, and both are fully cooperating in following isolation instructions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound.

Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old. The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated. Please be sure each of your own family-household members, especially infants and young children, are up to date on their immunizations. If you or your family members have a chronic health condition that might increase the risk of a respiratory infection, please seek advice from your health care provider whether or not precautionary antibiotics might be recommended.

Watauga County Schools and AppHealthCare (local health department) are working closely together with school and community partners.

“We continue to work closely with our partners at Watauga County Schools. They have taken quick action to notify additional families and we will continue to welcome calls from parents and community members who want more information. It is important we remain aware, but it is also important to note this is not considered an outbreak at this time” said Jennifer Greene, Health Director.