School officials in Springboro notified parents on Tuesday about three more whooping cough cases at the high school.
The report brought to four the number reported this year at the school and to seven the number of cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, reported in Warren County, according to the Warren County Health District.
Health officials cautioned against regarding the reports — including one adult in Franklin and an out-of-county student at a Mason school — as a health emergency.
“Are we paying attention to it? Absolutely,” Shelly Norton, public information officer for the Warren County Health District, said Wednesday.
The Springboro school district posted a letter Tuesday to its website alerting parents and guardians to the additional cases of pertussis.
“Springboro Schools is monitoring these reported illnesses. Based on the time of year, students have been encouraged to practice good health hygiene, which includes hand-washing, staying at home if ill, and keeping common surfaces regularly cleaned,” the letter said.
“The district will continue to follow protocol, working with the Warren County Health Dept., and take all the necessary precautions at Springboro High School, as well as throughout the district.”
Last week, the district confirmed there was one case at the high school.
Whooping cough is a potentially life-threatening childhood illness that all but disappeared in the 1940s after a vaccine was developed. In recent decades, the illness has made a comeback, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Primary reasons for the resurgence of the illness are a weakening of immunity in adults as they have aged, combined with a growing population of unvaccinated children, according to experts.
“We get cases every year,” Dianna Glenn, director of nursing for the Warren County health department, said.
Glenn said it was important to educate the public to encourage vaccination.
In addition, Glenn said people need to understand that an adult with a persistent cough, possibly signaling pertussis, could pass it on to young children with potentially fatal results.
“We want parents to be aware,” Glenn said.
The department recommends parents and guardians monitor children for prolonged coughing and possibly consult a physician.
The illness begins with cold symptoms (runny nose, mild cough, low-grade fever, sneezing). Within several days, the cough becomes more severe and can be characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs, followed by a crowing or high pitched “whoop.”
For further information, contact the Warren County Health Department at 513-695-2097.
Staff Writer Wayne Baker contributed to this report.
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