Louisville Health Department Sign

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A student at Kammerer Middle School has been diagnosed with whooping cough, according to an advisory obtained Friday by WDRB News.

The advisory from the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, dated Friday, says that a case of pertussis, or whooping cough, had been reported among Kammerer students.

It's the 12th case of whooping cough reported in Jefferson County Public Schools since Sept. 4, according to Communications Director Renee Murphy. Ten schools have reported cases, but locations were not immediately available from JCPS.

Pertussis starts as a respiratory infection with cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, low fever and mild cough before developing into a severe cough about a week later. The health advisory notes that pertussis can last for weeks or months and that symptoms can appear five to 21 days after contact with someone who has it.

Murphy said schools, using an advisory forwarded from the health department, notify parents when cases of pertussis are found. The health department will also advise close contacts of the infected student so they can begin taking preventative medication, she said.  

Dr. Lori Caloia, the health department's medical director, encouraged adults who have previously been vaccinated for whooping cough to get a booster vaccine since immunization can wear off over time.

"Parents, grandparents and care givers can then infect young children," Caloia said in a statement. "We recommend that they receive a one-time dose of adolescent/adult tetanus-diphtheria-acellular (Tdap) vaccine if they have not already done so."

There have been 11 cases of whooping cough in Jefferson County since Jan. 1, according to the health department. There were 62 cases last year, including 16 in November and December. That's a substantial increase from the 27 cases of pertussis in 2017, according to health department data.

The health department advises parents who believe they or their children may have pertussis to see a doctor, adding in the advisory that kids diagnosed with whooping cough should stay home from school until they’ve been cleared by a physician or have taken five days of antibiotics.

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