Whooping cough hits NW Harris County preschool
A northwest Harris County preschool has been hit by whooping cough, the Houston area’s first cluster of cases in what has been a bad season nationally.
Officials at The Adventure Preschool & Windwood Christian Academy on Spring Cypress Road last week sent letters to parents of preschoolers after seven children were confirmed to have the highly contagious bacterial infection, said a Harris County health department spokeswoman.
The children are being treated.
"Whooping cough is out there," said Rita Obey, spokeswoman for the Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services. "We haven't had any clusters, but there has been a case here and a case there."
In Houston, four cases were reported in September and two in October.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is particularly hard on youngsters' developing lungs and causes 40 to 80 infant deaths a year in the United States.
Characterized in infants by episodes of rapid coughing following by a high-pitched "whoop" sound, it is the nation's only common vaccine-preventable disease on the rise.
Whooping cough has spread rapidly in a number of states this year, particularly California, where 1,500 children have been diagnosed and 10 died in what officials are calling the worst outbreak in 50 years.
Central Texas is also having one of its worst outbreaks in years.
Because The Adventure Preschool is out for Thanksgiving, health officials said they believe they can keep the outbreak from spreading. All the preschoolers and any adults who had contact with them were put on a five-day course of preventive antibiotics.