Whooping cough outbreak at Bellbrook Middle School

Published: Thursday, March 03, 2016 @ 2:50 PM
Updated: Friday, March 04, 2016 @ 11:32 AM

Whooping cough outbreak at Bellbrook Middle School

A pertussis, or whooping cough, outbreak is impacting three local school districts in our area — Bellbrook, Kettering and Springboro.

Here are the symptoms, according to the CDC:

Early symptoms can last 1 to 2 weeks:

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  • Runny nose
  • Low-grade fever
  • Mild, occasional cough
  • Apnea-a pause in breathing (in babies)


Babies with pertussis don’t cough, they stop breathing and turn blue

Pertussis in its early stages is similar to a common cold and can go undiagnosed until more severe symptoms appear.

Later-stage symptoms after 1-2 weeks:

  • Fits of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched “whoop”
  • Vomiting during or after coughing fits
  • Exhaustion after coughing fits


 UPDATE @ 11:32 a.m. (3/4)

A pertussis outbreak at Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools was reported more than a month ago and was quickly contained, according to school officials.

Four students at Bellbrook Middle School had confirmed cases of the illness either at the end of January or beginning February, said Bellbrook school nurse Jenny Kaffenberger.

“Once a diagnosis is made or there’s a suspected case, then they are given antibiotics and they need to stay away from any public spaces, including schools, for the five days of the antibiotic treatment,” Kaffenberger said. “It also will be determined if household contacts need to be treated. If somebody is not treated, they also receive vaccination.”

Kaffenberger said after an eighth-grader was diagnosed in late January, an email was sent out to notify parents of eighth-graders. After the second case with an eighth-grader, a letter went out to all middle school parents, she said.

Kaffenberger said she is not aware of any new cases.

“If you’re maintaining good hygiene and cleaning the facility and your home, then that should really take care of it,” Kaffenberger said.

UPDATE @ 4:27 p.m.

Amy Schmitt, public health nurse in Greene County, said two or more cases of whooping cough is considered an outbreak. She said the pertussis outbreak at Bellbrook Middle School has impacted two classrooms, one of sixth graders and one of eighth graders.

“The students diagnosed have been excluded from school for five days,” Schmitt said, to finish medication and make sure they’re up to date on vaccinations.

Schools in Kettering and Springboro have one reported case each.

UPDATE @ 3:10 p.m.

A sixth case of whooping cough has been confirmed in the region.

One case of whooping cough is confirmed in a Springboro Junior High student, said Karen DeRosa, district communications coordinator for Springboro schools. She said per Warren County Combined Health District expectations, the district notified parents by email Thursday morning.

The student was not in school today, DeRosa said. She added that cases of pertussis are routine.


Area officials have reported at least five cases of whooping cough at area school districts.

Greene County health officials said they have had four confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whopping cough, at Bellbrook-Sugarcreek schools.

Kettering schools officials also confirmed a case at Orchard Park Elementary school and a letter was sent to parents to inform them of the illness.

According to health officials, pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by cough. Pertussis begin with cold symptoms and cough, which becomes much worse over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics.

If you suspect you may have signs or symptoms of pertussis you are asked to contact your local health care provider.