Superintendent of Schools Nathan Greenberg and Director of Pupil Services Kim Carpinone sent a letter home to parents on May, 30 informing them that a child who attends Londonderry Middle School had been diagnosed with pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough.
“It is possible that other cases of pertussis may occur over the next few weeks since pertussis is highly contagious. Pertussis is spread by direct contact with discharges from the nose and throat (sharing eating utensils and drink containers) of an infected person or by breathing in droplets in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” the letter said.
Greenberg and Carpinone wrote that symptoms usually begin 10-14 days after exposure and that it begins like a cold with “runny nose and low grade fever” and a cough that becomes worse over one to two weeks. “Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs, followed by a whooping sound. This sound may not be present in infants, adolescents, or adults. The cough is often followed by gagging, vomiting and/or difficulty catching breath and is often worse at night. Cough preparations usually do not ease the cough. This stage of the disease lasts 1 to 6 weeks or longer,” the letter said.
Greenberg also said in the letter that the disease is contagious until three weeks after the severe coughing begins.
Greenberg said in the letter that if anyone is diagnosed with pertussis or you suspects pertussis, they should notify their school nurse or the N.H. Bureau of Communicable Disease Control. Any questions can be the directed the Bureau at 1-800-852-3345 ext. 4496 or (603) 271-4496.