News

Whooping cough case

King County Public Health has informed families at Mercer Island Middle School that a seventh-grade student has had pertussis, also known as whooping cough. The student was potentially contagious at school between Oct. 20 and Oct. 28.

Children and adults who have become ill with a cough or cold between Oct. 26 and Nov. 18, and were present at the middle school when the student was contagious, should consider the possibility that the illness could be pertussis and can be spread to others. They should contact a physician.

Pertussis causes a persistent cough that may begin with cold-like symptoms. Sometimes a low grade fever is present. The cough usually occurs in episodes which may end with gagging, vomiting or sometimes a high pitched ``whoop'' when the person breathes in. A person with pertussis can appear to be well between the bursts of coughing, which may continue between four to six weeks. The illness is often severe in infants.

Health officials said that more cases of pertussis have been seen in recent months both in Washington state and nationwide.Through September, there have been 229 cases in King County, said Matias Valenzuela, of King County Public Health.

``Pertussis activity in King County remains significant and cases continued to be reported in infants, young children, adolescents and adults,'' he said.

Adults and children may catch pertussis even if they have had all or some of their immunizations.

While individuals should be aware of when and where a case is found, officials say they shouldn't be alarmed. The illness is treatable with an antibiotic.

For more information call the King County Public Health Dept. at 206-296-4949 or visit www.metrokc.gov/ and click on the public health link.

Sound Transit open house tomorrow

Help plan the future of regional transit. How can we build better transit connections across Lake Washington. Share your thoughts on the future of high capacity transit and see different options for future systems at an open house, tomorrow, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Mercer Island VFW Hall at 1836 72nd Ave. S.E. For more details check www.soundtransit.org/st2.

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