Ogle County schools try to bring Whooping Cough outbreak under control

Local News

OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — Ogle County has confirmed 19 cases of pertussis, aka Whooping Cough, at three high schools: Oregon, Polo, and Rochelle.

Fifteen of those cases are in Oregon.

“This weekend, we sanitized every room in the district,” said Superintendent Tom Mahoney. “We’re doing everything we can, but this is a condition that’s spread from student to student. The most important thing is parents just making sure they are observing their students, and students communicated to their parents or not feeling well or have any of the symptoms.”

Ogle County Health Department’s Kyle Auman added, “The main message we’re trying to get out right now is: don’t panic, and try to follow our recommendations.”

The Ogle County Health Department is working with the schools to contain the infection.

“The signs and symptoms for pertussis is low grade fever, sneezing, coughing, wheezing in the cough,” Auman said. “If they do have those symptoms, then they should make an appointment with their doctor or go to a walk-in clinic right away.”

During an outbreak, health department officials say it’s still best to keep the schools open, despite demands from worried parents.

“They encouraged us not to [close the schools] for fear that we would end up having students unsupervised, communing together, hanging out together during those days that school would be off and potentially spreading that even more frequently,” said Mahoney.

“We have hand sanitizer available for all the students. We reminded them to cough into their elbows and wash their hands frequently, make sure they’re getting plenty of sleep and rest, and if they have any symptoms to please stay at home,” he continued.

All 19 cases of Whooping Cough in Ogle County were detected in students who had received a vaccination. Officials say the vaccine doesn’t prevent a person from contracting the illness, but does help lessen the symptoms and prevents death.

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