The Brainerd Warrior dance team had to cancel its plans to compete Tuesday at a dance invitational at Sauk Rapids High School, and it wasn't because of the bitter weather.
Two dance team members have confirmed cases of whooping cough, Head Coach Cindy Clough said. Clough said dance practice was let out early Monday and Brainerd will not compete in Tuesday's meet.
Clough said one girl had whooping cough right before the holidays and the second girl's whooping cough was confirmed after the holidays. Both girls are on medication. One girl is on the varsity team and the other is on the junior varsity team.
"We're taking every measure we can to make sure all the girls are healthy," said Clough. She said all team members with symptoms went to the Brainerd clinic to be tested.
Brainerd Warrior dance team performed Friday at halftime of the Warriors girls' basketball game in Brainerd. Two members of the team have been diagnosed with whooping cough. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey
Clough said it's tough to prevent the spread of illnesses in dance because the girls work in close proximity to each other. She said the team has always been proactive in cleanliness, such as using sanitizing lotions and wet wipes.
Clough said she hasn't decided yet if the dance team will practice Wednesday. She said she is waiting on the test results of the girls who went to the clinic to be checked. Clough said if the test results are positive the girls cannot practice for five days.
"If this is the case it may take us out of this weekend's meet," said Clough.
Clough said this is the first time that she can recall that anyone on the dance team had whopping cough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, whooping cough is a contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis can cause serious illness in children and adults. It starts like the common cold with a runny nose or congestion, sneezing and maybe mild cough or fever. But after one to two weeks, severe coughing begins.
Whooping cough is usually spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria.
The CDC reports that the best way to prevent whooping cough is to be vaccinated. The pertussis vaccine is the most common vaccine-preventable childhood disease in the U.S.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.