For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Oxarart
775.328.2414 or 775.276.1021
Reno, Nev. Oct. 29, 2019 – The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is reporting five confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as “whooping cough,” at Bishop Manogue High School.
The one additional confirmed case comes after the Health District reported four confirmed cases last week. The school agreed to close Oct. 22-27 to reduce transmission of the disease, which can be fatal to infants, and reopened Monday, Oct. 28.
No changes have been made to participation in school sports and activities. The confirmed cases can return to school when treatment is finished.
“We expected a rise in confirmed cases of pertussis due to this highly-contagious disease,” Washoe County District Health Officer Kevin Dick said. “We are grateful for the cooperation of Bishop Manogue in taking action to reduce the spread of the disease by closing the school. The Health District will continue to work with Bishop Manogue to make sure the outbreak is contained as quickly as possible.”
Pertussis is a highly-contagious respiratory disease known for uncontrollable, violent coughing that makes it hard to breath.
Regarding participation in events implicating postseason, regional and state tournaments for NIAA-designated fall sports (cross country, football, girls golf, volleyball, soccer, tennis), those students have been granted an exemption to participate this week. In order to play in these events, asymptomatic students must provide proof and documentation to Bishop Manogue officials that they meet the following conditions:
- Students cannot be exhibiting any signs or symptoms of pertussis.
- Students must be up to date on current pertussis vaccination.
- Students must complete physician-prescribed prophylaxis prior to their competition date for each sport.
All other student activities can resume Nov. 1, assuming there is no significant increase in reported cases.
Unvaccinated students are not allowed on campus until proof of a Tdap vaccination is provided and seven days have passed since the vaccination was received. If a student declines to be vaccinated, he or she will not be allowed to return to school for 21 days following the last confirmed case of pertussis, per the CDC incubation period for pertussis, which would be after Nov. 11, 2019.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be fatal for babies under 1. The CDC recommends two vaccines to help prevent whooping cough: DTaP for children younger than 7, and Tdap for older children, teens and adults. These vaccines also provide protection against tetanus and diphtheria.
Whooping cough is fairly common in the United States. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, fever and a mild cough. Severe coughing spells can begin after a week or two.
The Washoe County Health District has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. To learn more, visit https://www.washoecounty.us/health/