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One case of whooping cough found at Park Rapids Area Century School

Information from the Minnesota Department of Health.

PARK RAPIDS - 'Tis the season for coughs and colds but a more severe disease, whooping cough, has been found across Minnesota, including one confirmed case in Park Rapids.

A student at Park Rapids Area Century School was confirmed to have whooping cough, or pertussis, last week, said Century school nurse Marianne Gilbertson.

Letters were sent home with students last week to notify them of the confirmed case.

Whooping cough is spread through bacteria from person to person through the air. A person with whooping cough typically has a severe cough that lasts four weeks or longer, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

First symptoms are similar to a cold and include sneezing, runny nose, a low-grade fever and a cough. After one or two weeks, the cough becomes severe, according to the Department of Health and is noted by the following:

-The cough occurs in sudden, uncontrollable bursts where one cough follows the next without a break for breath.

-Many children will make a high-pitched whooping sound when breathing in after a coughing episode. Whooping is less common in infants and adults.

-During a coughing spell, the person may vomit.

-The person's face or lips may look blue from lack of oxygen.

-The cough is often worse at night.

-Between coughing spells, the person seems well, but the illness is exhausting over time.

-Coughing episodes gradually become less frequent, but may continue for several weeks or months until the lungs heal.

In 2007, 393 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, were reported, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

In a health advisory issued by the Minnesota Department of Health, outbreaks have occurred this fall throughout Minnesota and highlight the need for increased booster vaccine coverage for adolescents.

Whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics but that might not cure symptoms, according to the Department of Health.