Madison County Schools Deal With Whooping Cough Outbreak
The Madison County Health Department is investigating a whooping cough outbreak in the Madison Plains Local School District.
It started with three confirmed cases in school buildings just last week, but has already spread -- to include more than 15 students, as of Friday -- according to the Madison Plains Local School District.
"I was a little apprehensive about sending them back on Monday, and then we got the next phone call that there was twelve," said Amber Kersey, a mother of two children who attend the district. Kersey has one child in elementary school, and one in intermediate school.
She said she is concerned about the lack of information that’s coming from school officials.
"I was really nervous then. All we knew then was it was still in the intermediate and high school, we have no idea what they're doing prevention-wise," Kersey said. "And that scares me."
Madison County is one of six counties in Ohio that are experiencing the highest concentration of pertussis cases - in addition to Clark, Pickaway, Delaware, Licking and Richland Counties.
So far this year, there are 18 confirmed cases to date in Madison countywide, compared with seven cases this time last year.
Kersey kept her children home from school on Thursday to try to protect them as this outbreak spreads.
Because the symptoms often go undiagnosed for weeks, she worries it may already be too late.
"My kids, or anybody else's kids, could already have contacted this... And we may not know yet," Kersey said.
In the meantime, she will be looking for the symptoms in her own children, before breathing a sigh of relief that this whooping cough outbreak is over.
Pertussis symptoms can be different depending on your age and vaccination history.
Currently, all of the counties with the highest concentration of cases in the state are clustered around Central Ohio.