Whooping Cough quarantines NPHS

A look at the local spread of Whooping Cough


Jewels Zeiler

North Platte High school students frequently experience cold like symptoms. Some students were concerned about deciding whether or not their cold-like symptoms could be Pertussis related.

Gracia Lantis , Online Media Editor

Three NPHS students spent a week in quarantine this month.

Caleb Morgan was diagnosed with Pertussis, also known as Whooping cough on Oct.10. At the time, he was one of two confirmed cases in the West Central Health Department district. 

Morgan and his sisters, Haylee Morgan and Destiny Rundquist, were all confined to their house for five days as a precaution, and all put on antibiotics. Haylee knew about Pertussis from school. “I didn’t think my family would get it,” she said.

The week that she was home, Rundquist was experiencing cold-like symptoms and believed that she too, had Pertussis, but was never diagnosed. “I went to Urgent Care, but they didn’t do much for me,” Rundquist said. 

All three siblings had proper vaccinations according to Rundquist.

On Oct. 4, NPHS students received handouts to take home, detailing Pertussis, with a message that they may have been exposed. 

Whooping cough works in two stages, according to Executive Director of West Central District Health Department Shannon Vanderheiden. “The early stage can last for one to two weeks, so that’s your typical cold-like symptoms. Runny nose, low-grade fever, mild and occasional cough,” Vanderheiden said, “and then late stage is one to two weeks after the disease has progressed and that is that typical high pitched what we call whooping cough.”  

Treatment is very important, Vanderheiden said. “There’s an antibiotic that’s prescribed and if someone is diagnosed with pertussis, it’s very important that they stay isolated,” she said. 

Because the disease is so contagious, people diagnosed or exposed must remain home until their antibiotics are completed. “Typically that’s five days,” Vanderheiden said. 

Pullquote Photo

I think it’s good they’re taking the precautions, but it kinda sucks”

— Haylee Morgan

This was exactly the case with the Morgans and Rundquist. “I think it’s good they’re taking the precautions, but it kinda sucks,” Haylee said. 

The best thing that anyone can do to protect themselves is to get their vaccinations Vanderheiden said. “DTAP is for babies and then TDAP is for preteens, teens and adults,” she said. NPHS staff were recommended to update their TDAP due to recent cases of Pertussis at the school by a school nurse.

Pertussis is extremely contagious according to Vanderheiden, and it’s best to catch it in the early stage. “If you know you’ve been exposed to someone with Pertussis, you want to call your doctor.”