The Maine Center for Disease Control has confirmed 1 case of pertussis (whooping cough) at the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School.

According to a letter that was sent to parents and guardians of the students,  pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and it spreads easily from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis usually begins with symptoms of a common cold (sore throat and runny nose) and often develops into a severe cough that can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. It can take up to 21 days after exposure to become sick. Anyone can get pertussis, including people who have already had a pertussis vaccine. Babies are most at risk of serious illness.

If your child has had a cough with coughing fits, gagging or vomiting or cough that has lasted for 2 weeks or longer

  • Please contact your child's healthcare provider as soon as possible, let them know about your child's symptoms and tell them your child may have been exposed to pertussis
  • Your child should be tested for pertussis and stay home pending test results.

If your child has tested positive for pertussis

  • Keep your child home from school and all social activities until 5 days of antibiotics are completed
  • All household contact and any high risk contacts (pregnant women, infants under 12 months  or anyone with a lower immune system) should be treated with antibiotics to prevent infection
  • Household contacts with symptoms should stay home until antibiotics are finished
  • Contacts with no symptoms should not be tested and do not need to stay home.