Skip to Content

BREAKING: Possible whooping cough exposure at Austin High School

Parents, students, teachers and staff at Austin High school are being notified by the The City of El Paso Department of Public Health about the possibility that they may have been exposed to a student with pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

“We don’t want to create alarm or panic for anyone involved in this possible exposure, but we do want to make sure that children, their parents, and any adults affected, recognize the importance of following the recommendations mentioned in the letter,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director.

Letters are being sent home to parents. These letters suggests that parents contact their primary care provider to let the doctor know that they may have been exposed to pertussis and to ensure that they are up-to-date with their vaccines.

If they are diagnosed with pertussis, they will be prescribed the appropriate antibiotic therapy. Anyone diagnosed should avoid public activities including school, sporting events, etc., until completion of a 5 day course of antibiotics.

“One of our biggest concerns isn’t so much the high school kids or the teachers because they are fully vaccinated. It’s those that have babies at home. Babies are are very susceptible to pertussis and the outcomes can be much worse if they haven’t been vaccinated yet,” Resendes said.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread through the air by coughing. Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms and a cough which become much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms also usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fits”) followed by a whooping noise. Intense coughing may be followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty in catching one’s breath. There is generally no fever involved. The cough is often worse at night and cough medications usually do not help control the cough.

Resendes told ABC-7 if anyone was exposed to whooping cough and is affected, the treatments are quick and effective.

“For those who do get sick, who do get the infection, it responds very well to antibiotic treatment. In five days you’re cured,” Resendes said.

District officials said letters should be arriving within a day or two and parents will be responsible for paying for testing and treatments if needed.

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content