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SOMS students possibly exposed to whooping cough

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By Tracy Harris

According to a public health advisory sent out Friday, students at South Oldham Middle School may have been exposed to Bordetella pertussis — whooping cough — by a sixth-grade student at the school.

Most children are protected from severe sickness by the tetnus/diptheria/pertussis, or TDAP, shot. However, the shot does not protect them from catching them germ and spreading it to others.

Children who are behind on the TDAP series are at a higher risk for severe illness.

Whooping cough begins with symptoms similar to the common cold — sneezing, runny nose, fever and mild cough. After about 10 days, outbursts of strong coughing develop accompanied by a high-sounding "whoop" noise. Vomiting or a thick mucus may follow the cough.

Coughing symptoms can continue for four to six weeks after the infection and the person may appear well other than coughing.

Students who experience symptoms before Feb. 7 should see their doctor and take the advisory with them. Those who are coughing should not return to school unless cleared by a doctor or after completing antibotic treatment.

Contact the Oldham County Health Department for information at 222-3516, extension 135.