Whooping cough at WWU: Finals looming

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. --  Some students at Western Washington University are worried about more than finals right now as six cases of Pertussis, or whooping cough, have been reported on campus over the last two months.

Each person was vaccinated, and an email was sent out last month warning students of the bacterial infection. On Monday, however, another email confirming more cases over the last two months.

“It’s not like we can just like stop going to class because of it," junior Ashley Castle said.

While the bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics, some students are worried with finals right around the corner, any minor setbacks like being sick could hinder their success in school.

Castle's friend Kenzie Crawford says, “they were saying to like watch out for it because someone in my lectures had it.”

There are some things you can do though. Dr. Greg Stern with the Whatcom County Department of Health says, “They should call their doctor if they have been around someone diagnosed with Pertussis, developing cold symptoms or a long cough.”

And it is that time of year.

“If they are coughing, you want to avoid passing it on to other people,” Stern explained.

Ashley is worried because she doesn't know how to tell when it is a cause for concern.

“I have heard people coughing, but I don’t know if it's just like allergies or the flu or whatever,” she said.

Preston Duffield has spent countless hours studying and won't miss class even if he is sick.

“Take the final in like some quarantine zone or something,” he said.

And Duffield says it all comes down to finals week.

“I don’t want to waste of a quarter, but it would be a really disappointing quarter to get sick,” he said.

These students are hoping if they do end up getting sick, the professors will be understanding and lenient during finals week.

In 2018, 51 cases of whooping cough were reported. There have been 23 so far this year, and we aren’t even halfway through the year, according to the Whatcom County Health Department.



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