There is one confirmed case of Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, at Cleburne High School, officials said.  

School officials sent a Skyward message to parents on Oct. 9, which included an informational letter from the Texas Department of State Health Services, about a case of the respiratory tract infection involving a ninth-grader. 

“As a precautionary measure, pending confirmation from state health officials, we implemented the stringent cleaning procedures typically used during flu season in addressing touch points throughout the campus,” school officials said. 

Pertussis can be a serious disease, particularly for infants less than 1 year old, according to the letter. It is easily spread by droplets in the air that form when an infected person talks, sneezes or coughs. 

Pertussis begins like a cold with runny nose, sneezing, mild fever and cough four to 21 days after exposure that slowly gets worse, the letter reads. The coughing spells get worse after one to two weeks, especially at night, and may last for six or more weeks. There is generally no fever at this time, and between coughing spells the person often appears to be well. 

During the coughing, a person may have difficulty catching their breath — resulting in a whooping sound in young children — may vomit or become blue in the face, the letter reads. Some babies may stop breathing, which is called apnea. 

Vaccinated individuals may still become ill with Pertussis. Adults, teens and vaccinated children may have milder symptoms. 

If your child comes down with cold symptoms including a cough, make an appointment with your child’s doctor as soon as possible and tell them that your child may have been exposed with Pertussis. 

People with any of the above symptoms should be excluded from daycare, school and other group settings until evaluated by a health care providers. Pertussis patients can be included in group settings only after completion of five days of antibiotic therapy or until 21 days have passed from cough onset, whichever is earlier. 

Close contacts of a person with Pertussis who are not showing any signs or symptoms may be recommended to receive antibiotics, especially if they come into contact with individuals who are at greater risk of severe disease such as: 

• A woman who is pregnant.

• An infant younger than 12 months old.

• Anyone with a weakened immune system. 

For information, call the TDSHS at 817-822-6786.  

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