NEVADA COUNTY, CA - Half a dozen students have been confirmed with pertussis or whooping cough at three Nevada County schools, according to the county office of public health.
About 10 other students were suspected of having the illness but haven't been confirmend, said Tex Ritter, county public health director.
The confirmed cases are in a class at Yuba River Charter, another class at Nevada City School of the Arts and at Valley Springs Charter School.
Ritter's department has ordered Yuba River Charter School to send students home who have coughs until they have taken five days of antibiotics or have been cleared by a medical doctor as non-contagious. Yuba River Charter has three of the confirmed cases.
Pertussis is a respiratory infection characterized by strong coughing spells which can end with a "whooping" sound as the patient takes a breath. The illness typically begins with cold symptoms of sneezing, runny nose, low fever and a mild, dry, persistent cough.
Ritter said the outbreak was first reported a week ago. He said just 19 percent of students at Yuba River Charter and 38 percent at Nevada City School of the Arts were inoculated against pertussis.