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Health Department Concerned About Unvaccinated Students After Whooping Cough Outbreak

DRAPER — Corner Canyon High School has only reported five infected students, but it’s enough for the Salt Lake County Health Department to ask unvaccinated students to stay home from school Friday.

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“In High schools where the students mix a lot, they’re not in a home room or within one contained classroom like an elementary school would be, they tend to send a notification a little bit earlier. When there are fewer cases,” said Nicholas Rupp, spokesperson for the Health Department, “Just to make sure, given the potential for contact with a number of students.”

Rupp said 100 of Corner Canyon’s 2200 students have not been vaccinated for personal or medical reasons. In the case of an outbreak like this one, all 100 are asked to stay home until at least 21 days have passed since the last diagnosed student shows symptoms.

“We support parental choice, we just have to remind those parents that the ramifications maybe that their student is not able to attend school,” Rupp said.

The Health Department sent out a letter to parents Thursday, warning them about the outbreak. It urged parents to contact the Salt Lake County Health Department at 385-468-7468 to make appointments for the vaccination and to go in for a checkup at the first sign of a cold.

Letter from Salt Lake County Health Department advising parents that Corner Canyon High School has an outbreak of Pertussis.

According to the CDC whooping cough, or pertussis, “…is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a “whooping” sound.”