Three students in Lake Geneva schools have been treated for whooping cough, and officials are urging parents to watch their children for symptoms.
School district officials reported one confirmed case at Star Center Elementary School and one more probable case each at Badger High School and Central-Denison Elementary School.
All three cases were students who were diagnosed the last week of September, and all three were treated for whooping cough.
Walworth County public health officer Erica Bergstrom said parents should not be alarmed, but they should keep an eye on their kids for possible symptoms. At the first sign of symptoms, a child should stay home and parents should contact a doctor.
“It’s important for parents to monitor their children,” Bergstrom said.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection in the lungs that can cause violent coughing fits and breathing difficulties. It is easily spread to others through coughing or sneezing.
It can be treated with antibiotics, and prevented with vaccinations.
Early symptoms of runny nose and occasional cough appear similar to a cold, but the coughing can quickly become deeper and more severe.
A statewide outbreak of whooping cough occurred in 2008, and there have been increased numbers of cases since then. Walworth County reported 290 cases in 2014, followed by 33 cases in 2015, 257 cases in 2016 and 11 cases last year.
Lake Geneva school officials sent a note home Sept. 26 alerting parents to whooping cough in the schools.Click here to read the letter sent to parents.
The letter urged parents to consider treating their children with antibiotics even if the children show no symptoms.
The school district urged special consideration of children who have close contact with babies under the age of 1, pregnant women within three weeks of delivery, or people with chronic health conditions.
“If your child is not symptomatic,” the letter stated, “it is important to note that he or she may have been exposed and may need to be treated with antibiotics to prevent the disease.”