19 cases of whooping cough plague area school district

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MONDOVI, Wis. (WEAU) -- As of Wednesday, there are 19 confirmed cases of Whooping Cough in the Mondovi School district. The first confirmed case in the district came on October 23.

Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. According to Doctor Paul Loomis at the Mayo Clinic, it is spread through respiratory droplets; like coughing and sneezing.

The Mondovi School Superintendent, Cheryl Gullicksrud, says the schools are taking proactive steps to stop the infection from spreading.

"We're trying very hard on two ends; number one to keep track of the cases and make sure the people who think they are ill are going in and getting tested and getting treated, and then the prevent piece because we would like to eliminate this a quickly as possible," Gullicksrud said.

She adds, crews are wiping down all school surfaces, and teachers are using the illness as a teaching tool.

Patty George, a parent of four school aged children, says the health department contacted her after a friend of her child tested positive for the infection.

“You don't like to hear that, especially for the friend too to know that she got it. So now I know that we've had closer contact with someone that it makes me watch more for the symptoms,” George said.

Once you become infected with whooping cough, it can take one to three weeks for signs and symptoms to appear. They're usually mild at first and resemble those of a common cold.

Although there is no way to pin-point how the infected entered the school, administrators say there aren’t enough cases to close the school.

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