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Horace Mann Student Tests Positive for Whooping Cough

The highly contagious bacterial disease is spread through the air by coughing.

Horace Mann Principal Steve Kessler sent out an email Thursday alerting parents and guardians that a student at the K-8 school tested positive for pertussis—more commonly known as whooping cough. 

"The Los Angeles County Department of Health has received notification of a confirmed case of pertussis at Horace Mann School," Kessler's email said. "Pertussis is a contagious bacterial disease that is spread through the air by coughing. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks."

The incubation period for pertussis is usually 7-20 days from the point of exposure. If your child comes down with cold symptoms that include a cough, see a doctor and be sure to explain the possibility of pertussis exposure. Early treatment with antibiotics can expedite recovery and lower the chances of spreading the disease.  

"A nasal swab is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Once the swab is taken, your child needs to stay home until you know that the result is negative," Kessler's email said. "If the result is positive for pertussis, your child needs to stay home for five days from the start of the antibiotic. Even though your child was vaccinated against pertussis, the vaccine's efficacy can wane after a period of time."

Pertussis requires a vaccine booster known as a Tdap, which stands for Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis. Students who are entering grade seven in California schools—both public and private—are required by state law to be vaccinated against pertussis.

Anyone with questions about the pertussis case at Horace Mann can call the school's health office at 310-229-3680.

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