Unknown respiratory virus closes Seattle Catholic school

With more than 150 students out sick Tuesday May 8th, Seattle’s Bishop Blanchet High School has declared an emergency closure for at least two days.

In a letter to families, principal Kristine Brynildsen- Smith addressed that many students were out sick, and at least three had been diagnosed with Pertusis (whooping cough), a flu virus of high fever, congestion and cough or are experiencing symptoms.

While school is closed through at least Thursday, student athletics will go on as scheduled after Blanchet administrators consulted with local health officials.

The Washington State Department of Health has reported whooping cough cases reaching unprecedented epidemic levels. King County health officials report 187 confirmed cases so far in 2012. Public health officials told school officials there is no evidence of an increase in whooping cough at Bishop Blanchet. Students are advised to check online for assignments and messages from their teachers. And they are being told by health officials to wash their hands, cover their cough and stay home.

But health officials are encouraging people to check with their doctors to make sure their vaccinations are current to protect against Pertusis.

Most insurance plans cover the vaccinations. But Governor Gregoire recently took emergency action to free up state money to purchase more vaccine and make it available to those lacking coverage. – NW.

By iamisatthedoors Posted in Health

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