Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis is a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough that is caused by the pertussis bacteria. Pertussis is spread from person to person through the air. A person may catch pertussis by standing close (less than 3 feet away) to an infected person who is coughing or sneezing. A person has to breathe in droplets from an infected person to get sick.
For additional information please refer to the CDC website:

www.maine.gov/dhhs/mecdc/infectious-disease/epi/vaccine/pertussis.shtml

Signs and Symptoms of Pertussis

The first signs of pertussis are similar to a cold (sneezing, runny nose, fever, and a cough). After one or two weeks the cough gets worse and occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts where one cough follows the next without a break for breath. The person may turn blue in the face and may have a difficult time breathing. Vomiting after a coughing spell is not uncommon. If your cough and cold symptoms persist for 2 weeks or your cough is severe as previously described, please see your PCP for assessment/treatment.  

Response and Treatment

  • Doctor's office will test for pertussis bacteria
  • Antibiotics will be prescribed if test is positive
  • May return to school   after 5 days of antibiotics
  • A release from MD( Doctor's note) to return to school is required
  • Cough may continue for weeks after treatment

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