Person at Marion County school diagnosed with pertussis

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FAIRMONT, W.Va (WDTV) - According to health officials at the Marion County Health Department, a person who attends East Park Elementary School in Fairmont has been diagnosed with pertussis.

"It is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through contact of a person who has the disease through coughing and things of that nature," said Stephanie Bittinger.

Health officials say pertussis is the same thing as whooping cough.

"It's a severe cough that lasts several weeks," Bittinger said. "You have other symptoms such as a mild fever, runny nose."

Marion County school officials say as soon as they learned about this, they worked with the health department to look at steps moving forward.

"As long as people are vaccinated, then the danger alone is mostly to newborn infants and children under the age of 12 months," she said.

"There's no reason to have any other alarm than if your children are vaccinated and they cough in their arm and they wash their hands, and if they're moderately to severely ill they stay home."

Health officials say this illness can typically be treated with an antibiotic. They say the best way to protect your children is to make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations.

"If they're sick, keep them home," she said. "If they have a severe that it's coughing so hard that they vomit, then they need to take them to the doctor."