Second case of whooping cough reported in Santa Clarita

Valencia High School. Dan Watson/The Signal
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A second case of whooping cough has been reported in a Santa Clarita Valley school this week, this time at Valencia High School, according to officials.

In an email distributed to parents on Thursday, Valencia administrators said a student was diagnosed with a case of whooping cough and informed of the diagnosis by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“We have been advised that the best thing we can do is distribute the attached notification,” said the letter, in reference to a file attachment about whooping cough from the Department of Health, which contains information on the spread and treatment of the disease.

District officials on Thursday said they follow a certain set of procedures when it comes to these issues.

“What happens is the Health Department contacts the schools when the doctor has reported a diagnosis of pertussis (whooping cough),” said Dave Caldwell, spokesman for the William S. Hart Union High School District. “Then they contact the school and any other place that person may have contacted.

“These things pop up every year and we follow protocol.”

On Tuesday, parents at Saugus High School had been informed that a student there had been diagnosed with whooping cough, and that health officials were informing parents because children were in “close contact with this person.”

Whooping cough spreads from a cough or sneeze, and looks like a cold that continually gets worse, eventually becoming coughing attacks that last several seconds.

“As the person catches his or her breath at the end of each coughing attack, they may make a ‘whoop’ sound, vomit or choke,” Tuesday’s news release from health officials read. “It can cause serious illness, leading to hospital stays and even death, especially in infants less than 6 months old.”

Whooping cough can be treated and prevented from spreading with antibiotics, according to officials.

If children begin exhibiting the signs of whooping cough, parents are advised to take them to their doctor immediately, and not attend school until they see a medical professional.

For more information about the Valencia notice, inquiries can be directed to the district’s nurse, Tina Hepp, at 661-284-3260 ext. 1413, or [email protected]

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