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More Whooping Cough Cases Reported in Schools

Residents are reminded to wash hands frequently, practice respiratory hygiene and stay home if sick.

Whooping cough cases grew to 38 this week — four more from last week — with students from Algonquin, Cary, and Lake in the Hills now affected by the outbreak. 

The McHenry County Department of Health reported cases of whooping cough among students at:

  • in Lake in the Hills
  •  in Algonquin. 
  • Cary: 25 cases at Cary-Grove High School, two cases at Cary Junior High School, three cases at Deer Path Elementary School and one case at Briargate Elementary School
  • Crystal Lake: one cases at  and four cases at Lundal Middle School

A vaccination clinic will be held this Wednesday, Nov. 9 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the MCDH’s Crystal Lake office, 100 N. Virginia St. 

The cost is $50 per individual. Medicaid is accepted for individuals 11 to 18 years old who must present a current card. The vaccine is $15 for those 11 to 18 years old who are uninsured or underinsured, and for uninsured adults 19 years old and older who meet income requirements.

There were nine cases of whooping cough reported in 2010 in McHenry County and 51 cases in 2009, according to the release. 

Tips for Preventing Spread of Whooping Cough

The health department offers the following tips to prevent the further spread of whooping cough: 

  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth, coughing into tissues and disposing of tissues properly.
  • Stay home if sick.
  • Students who are receiving antibiotics need to stay at home for five days to complete the treatment. Returning to school earlier could cause the spread of whooping cough. 

What is Whooping Cough? 

The McHenry County Department of Health provides the following information on pertussis:

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection that causes a range of illnesses, from mild cough to severe disease. 

It is spread easily from person to person through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of pertussis may appear five to 10 days after exposure but can take as long as 21 days to appear. 

The first symptoms are similar to those of a common cold — runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever and a mild, occasional nonproductive cough. 

The cough gradually becomes severe and, after one to two weeks, an individual will have bursts of numerous, rapid coughs with a distinctive “whooping” sound. While it can be mild in some persons, it poses a greater risk for infants who are not fully immunized (until 4 to 6 years old), immune compromised individuals, and older persons.

If you share a household with these persons, consider getting the vaccination. 

If you or your child have symptoms or questions on whether the vaccine is needed, contact your physician.

Persons with pertussis should be excluded from school, work or other group settings until they receive appropriate evaluation and treatment. 

Parents should be sure to keep children up to date with recommended pertussis vaccinations; an adolescent/adult pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) should be given to those ages 11-18 before entering high school. 

For more information on pertussis, visit MCDH's website  or call MCDH’s Communicable Disease Division at 815-334-4500.

Jennifer Ammann-Macaulay November 08, 2011 at 10:25 PM
A good question to raise (not mentioned in this article) would be... Were the children who contracted whopping cough previously vaccinated? Funny that wasn't mentioned.

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