School District Addresses Pertussis

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COOS BAY, Ore. — The Coos County Public Health Department sent out a notice Wednesday to families in the Coos Bay School District regarding the four students who tested positive for whooping cough.

The county and the school district say that there are currently only four cases of positive pertussis that they know about in the school district, but they say that could spread if people are not careful. They say it’s up to parents to keep an eye on their kids, their symptoms and make sure the entire family is up to date on their Tdap vaccination.

Lena Hawtin, of the Coos County Public Health Department, is in the middle of investigating those four pertussis cases and what other cases they may have lead to.

“Our main concern with pertussis is the infants, because when the infants have that severe cough, they can’t eat, they can’t drink,” Hawtein said

As far as Hawtin knows, none of the infected kids have made contact with any infants or pregnant women, which is a big plus, but there’s still more investigating to do. With the other students home sick, much of which School District RN Karen Brown in taking care of.

“We’re calling parents and saying ‘tell us about this cough,” said Brown, the School Nurse Coordinator for the Coos Bay School District.

Depending on how parents answer, Brown, the other nurses and secretaries try to triage by either ruling pertussis out for that student or recommending they see their doctor for another opinion.

Whether symptoms are showing or not, parents need to make sure both their kids and they are up to date with their Tdap vaccinations.

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