More whooping cough cases confirmed in Monmouth County
More cases of whooping cough are confirmed in Monmouth County, with additional cases being watched.
Milltstone Township Schools superintendent Scott T. Felder told New Jersey 101.5 there are four confirmed or suspected cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the district.
A fifth-grader at Millstone Elementary School has been confirmed to have pertussis. A student at Allentown High School has been confirmed as well. Two of that student's siblings — another fifth-grader, and a seventh-grader at the district's middle school — are suspected to have pertussis.
Although the high school student is the only member of that family with a confirmed case, "the siblings are symptomatic and treated as if they are confirmed," Felder said. All must stay home for five days and take antibiotics, he said.
"Unfortunately antibiotics don't cure the symptom for the child but they are no longer contagious," said Felder, adding that the students would be on a 21-day watches.
Parents should keep an eye on their kids for symptoms of whooping cough, which are similar to that of the common cold such as a mild cough or fever and can include a runny nose, low-grade fever and a a mild, occasional cough, Felder said.
"We know this is going on around us so we need to be extremely cautious, to watch for signs and really need to make sure we're not brushing off a cough," he said.
Felder said he is taking an aggressive approach to preventing further outbreaks with a "massive cleaning" of all district buildings and buses.
"This is the one thing parents are fearful of, is health. A bad day of education, we can all overcome but health is a much more serious situation," Felder said.
Felder said he has received "incredible support" from district families as he helps spread awareness about whooping cough, although he would not be surprised if more cases develop.
Felder said the Monmouth County Board of Health met with the Millstone Board of Education meeting was held Monday and answered questions about whooping cough for members and parents.
The Centers for Disease Control considers whooping cough a highly contagious respiratory disease. which causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, which often makes it hard to breathe.
"After fits of many coughs, 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," writes the CDC.
The best prevention against whooping cough is DTap, a combination vaccine that helps protect against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. according to the CDC.