Health Alert: Poway teen contracts pertussis - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Health Alert: Poway teen contracts pertussis

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RAMONA (CBS 8) - A health alert at Ramona High School after a student was diagnosed with pertussis - more commonly known as a whopping cough.

Lori Sorbo's son has Pertussis. "It's ongoing and it just curdles your skin to hear him cough. This week his signs have gotten worse," she said.

Sorbo grew concern when her 15-year-old son Russell, a sophomore at Ramona High School, became sick a month ago. She thought it was a common cold.

Russell began losing weight, but doctors thought he had bronchitis until test results revealed it was pertussis - a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.

"It boggles my mind because he was immunized against pertussis as an infant. I did not think he could ever get it," said Sorbo.

But Russell is not the only one getting sick.

A parent told CBS News 8 she knows of at least three students with pertussis in the last 60 days at Ramona High School.

The Ramona City Unified School District sent out an alert to parents which read in part: "As of today we have one case of Pertussis at Ramona High School as confirmed by the San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Epidemiology and Immunization Services."

Russell will remain quarantined in his room for up to a week.

There have been no there current reported cases of pertussis, but Russell and his family will have to take antibiotics to prevent the illness from spreading.

The CDC states coughing fits from pertussis can last up to 10 weeks or more, which is why the disease is sometimes called the "100 day cough."

Vaccinated children and adults can still become infected with and spread pertussis.

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