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Seven Total Cases of Whooping Cough Confirmed in Chico

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Updated: 11/26/2013 5:27 pm

The number of confirmed cases of whooping cough at Citrus Elementary has risen to six. The Butte County Health Department said a family member has also been infected, bringing the total number in Chico to seven. They also said they are treating this as an outbreak.

You won't find any students at Citrus Elementary this week.

But don't worry, whooping cough hasn't sent all the kids home; it’s just thanksgiving break.

Good timing, said Dr. Mark Lundberg, with the Butte County Health Department.

“I think it's great timing for this outbreak. I think it's a good time to interrupt the infectious cycle of this disease,” Lundberg said.

Last week, the County Health Department confirmed seven cases of whooping cough in Chico.

Seven have been infected at Citrus Elementary, and one is a family connection.

Of all the Citrus kids infected, only one was unvaccinated.

“It is a requirement but there is a personal belief exemption. So if they don't believe in vaccinations, they can sign a waiver,” Lundberg said.

Even if a family does believe in vaccinations, and gets that shot, Lundberg said they're not guaranteed immunity.

He said the vaccination has about an 85% rate of efficiency.

The health department has started a watch list: they have their eyes on kids and families with cough illnesses.

“I do suspect that number will go up. Some of these cases we're watching might be confirmed.”

That's why a warning is still in affect after the holiday break: don't send your kid to school if they have a bad cough.

And Lundberg gave some advice that you've probably heard already: pregnant women, and anyone with close contact to infants, should get a shot.

“So those are the ones we're most concerned about. Who might be exposing infants out there and are we protecting infants from this disease?” Lundberg said.

Thanksgiving break is a time to eat, rest, and for some in Chico, recover from an infectious disease.

Dr. Lundberg said the hospitalization rate for an infant infected with whooping cough is around 50%. The CDC reported for about 1 or 2 in 100 babies hospitalized, the disease can be deadly.

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