Isolated case of whooping cough reported in Aspen schools
The Aspen School District sent a notice to parents this week after a student contracted whooping cough, but health officials said it was an isolated case and not a cause for concern.The student’s sibling, a baby, also had the highly contagious cough, said Lisa Robbiano, family nurse practitioner and director of Community Health Services.Whooping cough can be deadly in infants, but both the baby and the student are doing fine, she said. Many others – children and adults – were tested for the disease, and the baby and student are the only ones to test positive for whooping cough in Pitkin County.”It’s not an epidemic,” she said. “It’s really very, very isolated.”Several concerned parents have called the agency about both whooping cough and the mumps. An epidemic of that infectious disease has hit seven Midwestern states, and Colorado has reported two cases. Colorado health officials said the two mumps cases, including one in Durango, are not related, according to Tuesday’s Denver Post.Pitkin County has not had any mumps cases, but the Midwest epidemic is on the radar of Community Health Services. “We get mumps updates all the time,” Robbiano said.Health providers in Colorado stepped up their surveillance efforts for mumps in early April, and 100 suspected cases have been reported. But only two mumps cases have been confirmed. The other person lives on the eastern plains of Colorado.Robbiano said the mumps can be dangerous, depending on the person’s age and immune system. She advised parents and others concerned about it to watch for a general feeling of aches and pains, loss of appetite, headache and fever.But the biggest indicator is in the cheeks – “You look like a chipmunk,” Robbiano said. Sinus infections and allergies, among other afflictions, can mimic that look.The best way to avoid the mumps is ensuring that vaccinations are up to date.For more information, call Community Health Services at 920-5420.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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