2 Midlothian students diagnosed with whooping cough

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Thursday, January 7, 2016
2 students diagnosed with whooping cough
Two cases of whooping cough have parents at a suburban school concerned.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two cases of whooping cough have parents at a suburban school concerned.

Siblings at Kolmar Elementary School in Midlothian have been diagnosed with pertussis, a highly-contagious respiratory tract infection.

Students were apparently out of school on winter break when two siblings developed the whooping cough. But school officials sent home a note similar to one from the county, regardless, making parents aware and warning them to look for symptoms.

"It puts parents on notice to be paying attention for certain symptoms from their kids because whooping cough is extremely contagious," said Dr. Rachel Rubin, Cook County Health Department.

The symptoms resemble a common cold, including runny nose, sneezing or fever. And of course, a cough that starts out mild but can develop into more violent coughing fits that continue for weeks.

Cook County Public Health officials say whooping cough has not been very serious recently. In 2014 the county recorded 119 cases and last year 150. Nevertheless some parents are concerned.

"It's basic common sense. You're putting others at risk when you don't vaccinate," said Teri Beaulieu, a parent.

Doctors say the vaccination, which most people get as infants, is required for students starting school. Doctors say it's no guarantee against developing whooping cough, but it's generally very effective.

"Anything we can do to prevent the spread of this within the community, and especially to protect the most vulnerable children amongst us, it's a very important thing to do," said Dr. Andrew Bonwit, Loyola University Medical Center.

Doctors say the two students diagnosed with whooping cough in Midlothian are likely to miss several weeks of school until they are symptom-free.