MSAD 29 school officials are putting out the word to parents to take heed but NOT PANIC over the confirmation of two cases of pertussis or whooping cough in the district. Shawn Cunningham gets the details of this developing story and what parents need to know.
There are two confirmed cases of pertussis…whooping cough in Southern Aroostook. A boy at the Wellington school in Monticello and a girl at the Houlton Southside School. MSDA 29 school officials say they learned of the two cases last Friday and immediately notified parents.
Mike Hammer is the Superintendent for MSAD 29 and says “We sent home letters about the two schools involved and we doing an alert now which is like a robocall if you will.” Local health practitioners say there is no need for parents to panic. “No panic I think they need to talk to their physicians and talk to the people that they were with and with proper medical care it should be taken care of,” says Dr. Rosalinda Maraya, a pediatrician at Houlton Regional Hospital.
Hammer says this is the first known incident of whooping cough in the district. But that aside he says there are protocols put in place to address these incidents when they happen.
“Call the CDC, the school health nurse and then see how they want us to respond.” Hammer says the girl at Houlton Southside was not immunized for pertussis while the boy at the Wellington School was. The mother of the boy spoke to Newssource 8 and says quote:
“Its very scary when I see him cough. Its a violent cough, everything comes out of him to the point of vomiting. The school has been great. They’ve called to check on my son several times
since this happened. My advice to other parents and families is if you suspect you’re child is sick, keep them home.”
The two schools where the youngsters who have the confirmed cases of whooping cough are more than miles apart. One in Houlton, the other in Monticello. But Dr. Maraya says at some point these kids might have come in contact with one another.”
Dr. Maraya adds “Exposure would be like if they have been with the patient for more an hour three feet away from the patient than I would say there is a real good chance for exposure.”
Maraya says anyone who has not been immunized should take precaution. Hammer says it is possible more cases could be confirmed. If it happens, parents will be continue to be notified immediately.