Update, 2:40 p.m. Friday: The Coronado school district reports that the child is no longer contagious, so has returned to ECDC. Richard Erhard, assistant superintendent, said that the child's illness was confirmed Monday and reported to the school by the family. ECDC, which serves youngsters between the ages of 3 and 6, informed county health officials.
The school sent letters home with all students, made a nurse available for questions from parents and specially cleaned the affected youngster's regular classroom.
County health guidelines for campuses dealing with illnesses such as whooping cought do not require such cleanings or nurse availability.
“We went beyond what the guidelines asked us to follow,” Erhard said.
For reasons of medical privacy, the child's gender was not disclosed.
The school has about 170 students enrolled, and 22 staff members, Erhard said. It's the second reportable health incident this school year, he added. Earlier, there was an outbreak of a common skin infection called impetigo.
A youngster with whopping cough may have exposed elementary school classmates and staff to pertussis at a Coronado early education program, San Diego County officials said Friday.
The case brings the county total incidents of whooping cough to 27 this year.
The child, 6, who had been immunized, and attends the Early Childhood Development Center in the Coronado Unified School District.
“The highly contagious respiratory illness can spread easily through the air in close quarters such as schools and other public settings and that’s why we recommend that parents not skip immunizations,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Public Health Officer. “The number of cases has been reduced significantly compared to the last two years, and that is due in large part to children, teenagers and adults getting immunized.”
No whooping cough fatalities were reported in the state last year, but in 2010 there were 10, including two infants in San Diego. A record number, 1,144, cases were reported throughout the county in 2010.
The number fell to 436 last year.
Vaccines are available. Parents can obtain the series of shots and the Tdap boosters for themselves and their children from their primary care physicians. Pharmacies also offer vaccinations for a fee.
Those who lack insurance can go to a County Public Health Center to receive shots free.
Typical symptoms include a cough and runny nose up to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Mild fevers may be noted as well. Antibiotics are used to treat the ailment.
For more information about whooping cough or vaccinations, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.