A student at Sierra Vista Junior High School has been diagnosed with the preventable disease pertussis, or whooping cough, according to an announcement issued Tuesday by Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials.
William S. Hart Union High School District spokesman Dave Caldwell confirmed the case was reported by a student at Sierra Vista. The district is in the process of determining if it was an isolated incident, but the district and the school are following protocol.
“The protocol is the Los Angeles County Department of Health contacts the school, and we comply with them,” said Caldwell. “We’ve sent the message out to all the families, and now the Department of Health has given us recommendations to clean the area.”
Caldwell said he did not have a copy of the notification available to release as of the publication of this story.
He said those recommendations take the form of the public health officials locating the various surfaces the student may have been in contact with, such as a door or desk or chair, and thoroughly sanitizing the area.
“It’s not common, but is something that, when you have 22,000 students in a district, something like this happens,” said Caldwell. “On occasion, we get notified of a diagnosis.”
District officials confirmed that they had not closed down Sierra Vista due to the diagnosis, but said the notification distributed to parents on Tuesday indicates they are not taking it lightly.
“We go by the protocol and start notifying parents,” said Caldwell. “We follow recommendations for everything else.”
From 2010 to 2017, between 15,000 and 50,000 cases of whooping cough were reported each year in the United States.