Three cases of whooping cough have been confirmed in the Abilene schools as of last week. Several unconfirmed cases have been reported in the Chapman area and in other areas of the county.
In the notification message sent out late Friday afternoon by the Abilene school district to parents and guardians of students at Garfield Elementary School, Dr. Brian Holmes, the county’s health officer, recommends if a child or staff member is not up to date on their Tdap shots and are 10 years and older, they also needed to be vaccinated. If a child’s last round of vaccinations was in Kindergarten, they will need a booster of Tdap.
A Tdap vaccine shot covers tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis.
If a child is sick, they recommend that all household contacts received prophylactic antibiotics and be updated on their Tdap vaccine.
Even if a child is not sick, the health department is recommending they be treated and updated on the vaccine.
Parents and guardians are advised to contact their physician’s office for treatment and vaccination.
Several telephone calls were made by the Reflector-Chronicle to officials Friday afternoon. The Dickinson County Health Department was closed for the Christmas holiday and Dr. Holmes was seeing patients at his Abilene office Friday afternoon and had not returned a phone call by 4 p.m. Friday.