Milwaukie HS student diagnosed with whooping cough

MILWAUKIE, Ore. - Parents and students at Milwaukie High School are on notice to watch out for symptoms of whooping cough.

A concerned parent called KATU on Thursday and said one of the high school students may have been exposed to the disease. Parents received a letter from the school suggesting they keep their kids at home if they have cold symptoms for more than a week.

The case was reported to Clackamas County Public Health.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is highly contagious and is more likely to spread during the first few weeks after exposure. The bacterial disease first comes on as a cold and worsens after several days.

The disease is a big concern to those with compromised immune systems.

"Personally, I'm terrified," said Mary Lou Mathis, whose son attends Milwaukie High School. "I have an immune disorder and I should be exposed to this through my child being at school and bringing it home. There's a very good chance it could land me in the hospital or kill me."

Whooping cough is also potentially deadly for newborns or kids who have not been vaccinated. It is dangerous for pregnant women as well.

The disease can be prevented by given children the vaccine, which is usually given in doses before a child turns 6 years old.

Symptoms of whooping cough:

  • Begins with cough and cold symptoms

  • Cough worsens and persists after several days

  • Cough may be violent and lead to vomiting or, in younger children, a 'whoop'

  • Usually there is no fever