With increased awareness of symptoms, more cases likely to be identified in the community



BURLINGTON – The Alamance County Health Department (ACHD) is investigating a new, lab confirmed case of pertussis in a student at Audrey W. Garrett Elementary School in Mebane.  Due to confidentiality laws, the name of this individual will not be released.

Within the next 24 hours, the health department, with the assistance of the Alamance-Burlington School System (ABSS) will have notified affected parents and staff at Audrey W. Garrett.  In addition, medical and health care providers in the community have been notified.

Also on Tuesday, health department officials updated the status of the previously suspected case of pertussis in a Western Alamance Middle School to a confirmed case, based on epidemiological linkage.

“Now that residents and medical providers in Alamance County have a heightened awareness of the signs and symptoms of pertussis, we expect that additional cases will be identified,” said Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, MD, ACHD Medical Director.  “Regardless of how many cases are confirmed or suspected, getting appropriate tetanus and pertussis vaccine is the most effective way to protect our community.  Elementary and middle school students are required to receive timely immunizations to attend public school.  It is equally important for adults to make sure their own immunizations are up-to-date,” concluded Shapley-Quinn.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a bacterial infection that often starts with typical cold symptoms (runny nose, low grade fever, and possibly cough) and over 1-2 weeks, usually develops into prolonged bursts of coughing, often with a whooping noise at the end.  The person usually feels well between attacks.

For additional information or specific questions, please call the Alamance County Health Department Communicable Disease Hotline at (336) 516-7715.   If you are unable to reach a nurse on duty, please leave a message and your contact number.  Your call will be returned as soon as possible.