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Update regarding Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

December 6, 2019


Dear Parents and Guardians,

The parents of Strath Haven High School students have received updated notifications regarding recently confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough).  However, we feel it is important to update the Wallingford-Swarthmore community as a whole.


Since returning from the Thanksgiving break, there have been a number of additional confirmed cases, bringing the total to seventeen.  Fourteen of these cases have involved students at Strath Haven High School.  All of these new cases are under the care of their physicians and are either in process of completing the appropriate course of antibiotics or have already done so.


We continue to work closely with the PA Department of Heath to ensure that all procedures and protocols related to pertussis are implemented.  At this time, there are no additional recommendations from the PA Department of Health.  Further, we are in the process of completing an additional deep cleaning of the high school with a disinfectant effective against pertussis.  While enhanced cleaning is unlikely to stop the transmission of the disease, it is an important extra precaution.


We would like to remind everyone that pertussis often first presents like the common cold and may not even including coughing.  Symptoms such as a runny nose, low-grade fever, mild occasional cough and body aches may be symptoms of pertussis.  Early diagnosis can lessen the impact of pertussis and shorten the overall length of impact.  Antibiotic treatment is necessary for pertussis.  If you are experiencing cold or cough symptoms or begin to experience these symptoms, we recommend that you contact your primary care physician, describe your symptoms, and let them know that there are confirmed cases of pertussis in our School District.  If your child is diagnosed with pertussis, please contact your school nurse.  Medical offices do not contact our schools directly. 


We will continue to update you as new information arises.  We ask that you please respect that we may not discuss specific details regarding these cases of pertussis.


Click HERE to view a Fact Sheet, which provides more detailed information about pertussis.


Very truly yours,

Lisa A. Palmer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools