Bedford County Schools warn of possible exposure to whooping cough at Forest Elementary School

Local News

FOREST, Va. (WFXR) — Students at Forest Elementary School in Bedford County may have been exposed to whooping cough, according to a Feb. 26 letter sent home to parents.

The letter does not say how students may have been exposed to whooping cough – whether by another student, a staff member, a parent, or a visitor to the school.

Ryan Edwards, public information officer for Bedford County Schools, sent the following email to WFXR News:

“I can confirm this case, and I can also confirm that the school has taken all steps necessary to protect other students and make parents aware. Out of respect for the family at the center of this, we will not be giving on-camera interviews.”

Ryan Edwards
Public Information Officer
Bedford County Public Schools

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease.

“[Whooping cough] is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a ‘whooping’ sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Virginia Department of Health says the best way to prevent whooping cough is to get vaccinated.

“Young children need five shots against whooping cough; four shots by 18 months of age and a booster before starting kindergarten. Protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time. Adolescents and adults should receive a one-time dose of the Tdap booster. Talk to your physician to ensure you and your family are up-to-date on your whooping cough vaccines.”

Virginia Department of Health
This letter was sent home with Forest Elementary School students on Feb. 26. It warns of a possible exposure to whooping cough.

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