Health Advisory

Pertussis Update

To:     School Nurses and Supervisory Unions
From: Susan Schoenfeld, Deputy State Epidemiologist for Infectious Disease
Date: January 27, 2012

– Please Distribute Widely –        

This advisory provides an update of information sent in November and December 2011 to schools and the medical community:

Pertussis 2011: 94 cases of pertussis were confirmed in Vermont. This is still a provisional total and may increase slightly. Most cases (70%) occurred in Chittenden County in November and December. Ages of those with confirmed pertussis ranged from one month to 71 years. Children ages 5 to 18 accounted for 75 percent of these cases. Three of the adult cases occurred in individuals associated with schools. Among 80 children between the ages of 2 months and19 years with confirmed pertussis, 32.5 percent were unvaccinated or not up to date for age.

January 2012: As of January 25, 26 cases have been confirmed in Chittenden (14), Washington (6) Grand Isle (2), Addison (2), Orleans (1), and Windsor (1) counties. Many others are under investigation. School age children account for 92 percent of these cases, with cases occurring in at least 10 schools.

Action Steps for Schools:

Think of pertussis: Consider pertussis in students and staff who have the following symptoms, regardless of vaccination history, and refer for evaluation by a health care provider:

If pertussis cases have been identified in your school among students or staff, cough lasting at least seven days should be evaluated.

Report suspected cases to your District Health Office or to the Health Department’s Epidemiology Unit at 802-863-7240.

Stopping transmission:

Immunizations: Vaccination is the best protection against pertussis. However, the more pertussis is circulating, the greater the chance that a fully vaccinated person may become infected.

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