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Five Cases of Whooping Cough Diagnosed at Waldorf School of Santa Barbara

Five students have been diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, at The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara within the last two weeks, school officials said.

Cases have been reported at the Early Childhood program, which is housed on the Vieja Valley Elementary School campus, and the Grades campus, which is housed on the site of the Goleta Union School District headquarters in Goleta.

No cases of pertussis have been reported at either Hope Elementary School District or Goleta Union School District schools, superintendents Dan Cooperman and Bill Banning said Monday.

The first case at The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara was reported by a parent on Oct. 10, and school officials contacted the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department to get information about the next steps to take, they said in a statement.

Any individuals showing symptoms were required to stay home and see a doctor, and anyone being treated for pertussis was required to stay home from school until a five-day course of antibiotics was completed and verified by a doctor, or be excluded from school for 21 days from the date of diagnosis if any treatment other than antibiotics is used, according to school officials.

“Due to our firm policies, four additional cases were diagnosed after parents requested pertussis tests from their health-care professional because their children displayed early symptoms of pertussis which are similar to the common cold,” according to the school.

They enforce state law that requires students to be immunized before attending school or have an exemption on file. Waldorf “adheres to this law and concurs that the decision to immunize is one that should be made by parents and their physicians,” the statement said.

For the current school year, only 53 percent of Waldorf’s Early Childhood students are fully immunized against pertussis, 16 percent are partially immunized and 31 percent are not immunized, the school said in its statement.

“The Waldorf School of Santa Barbara does all it can to ensure the safety and health of the children at our school,” the statement said. “WSSB continues to work with the Public Health Department, Goleta Union School District officials and Hope School District officials to take steps to ensure the safety of our community during the current statewide pertussis epidemic.”

Noozhawk news editor Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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