Case of whooping cough identified

A confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) was identified in a student last week, according to Ferris officials.

In a press release on Sept. 21, the university had reported news of the case. It was noted in the release that the student is being treated with antibiotics and is no longer contagious.

Birkam Health Center staff notified employees and students who had regular contact with the student as precautionary measure. They will be offered a free Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis) vaccine for cautionary purposes.

Free Tdap vaccines will be offered at Birkam Health Center during their business hours, which are 8:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, except on Thursday when the health center closes at 3:30 p.m.

Paul Sullivan, director of Birkam Health Center and Counseling Center, said pertussis is a highly contagious disease found only in humans and is spread through person-to-person contact.

Coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who breathe in the bacteria, usually spreads pertussis. Symptoms generally develop within seven to 10 days after being exposed, but it may also take up to six weeks for symptoms to appear.

Early symptoms may be similar to those of a cold, including a runny nose, mild cough and low-grade fever.

Those whose symptoms persist into violent, uncontrollable coughing should contact the Birkam Health Center.

Pertussis vaccines are said to be very effective in protecting individuals from the disease.

There is a chance that someone who is fully vaccinated can contract the disease. The infection is usually less severe for those who have been vaccinated.

To find out more information about pertussis, call the Birkam Health Center at ext. 2614. n