Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 7: Infectious Diseases

7.3 Respiratory Tract Infections

7.3.7 Pertussis Informing Public Health Authorities of Pertussis Cases

Local and/or state public health authorities should be notified immediately about suspected or confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) involving children or caregivers/teachers in the child care setting. Facilities should cooperate with their local or state health department officials in notifying parents/guardians of children who attend the facility about exposures to children or adults with pertussis. This may include providing health department officials with the names and telephone numbers of parents/guardians of children in the classrooms or facilities involved.

Guidelines for use of antibiotics and immunization for prevention of pertussis in people who have been in contact with children or adults who have pertussis should be implemented in cooperation with public health department officials. Children and staff who have been exposed to pertussis, especially those who are incompletely immunized, should be observed for respiratory tract symptoms for twenty-one days after the last contact with the infected person.

Notification of health department officials when suspected or confirmed pertussis occurs in a child or staff member in a child care center will help ensure the following (1-3):
  1. All children have received age-appropriate immunization;
  2. Appropriate antibiotic prophylaxis is provided to children and adults exposed to the child first infected with pertussis;
  3. Children and adults are observed for respiratory tract symptoms.
Sample letters of notification to parents/guardians that their child may have been exposed to an infectious disease are contained in the current publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools (1). For additional information regarding pertussis, consult the current edition of the Red Book (2), also from the AAP.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Notification of the Facility About Infectious Disease or Other Problems by Parents/Guardians List of Excludable and Reportable Conditions for Parents/Guardians
  1. Aronson, S. S., T. R. Shope, eds. 2017. Managing infectious diseases in child care and schools: A quick reference guide, 4th Edition. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.
  2. Kimberlin, D.W., Brady, M.T., Jackson, M.A., Long, S.S., eds. 2015. Red book: 2015 report to the committee of infectious diseases. 30th Ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.