Officials with Brenau University announced Wednesday a probable case of pertussis - also known as whooping cough -that cropped on the Gainesville campus more than a week ago.
A media statement said the university identified a small group of students and employees who might have been exposed to the infected person the week of August 16, which was the start of fall semester.
"We are committed to the health of our students, our employees and our community," said Amanda Lammers, Vice President for Students Services. "The vast majority of Brenau students have been vaccinated and are at low risk of contracting this, but we felt it imperative to make everyone aware of the probable case and to share possible symptoms."
According to information from the university, pertussis is an illness spread person to person by coughing or sneezing. Pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms including cough and runny nose. The cough becomes worse over one to two weeks and may include coughing fits, sometimes with vomiting. An ill person may also make a whooping sound. Older children, adults and very young babies may not have a whoop. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help.
The university distributed a letter from Lammers to students on the Gainesville campus on Wednesday and alerted faculty and staff through internal communication channels. It asked students and employees who have developed any of these symptoms around or after Aug. 16 to visit the Brenau Center for Health & Well-Being as soon as possible.
In addition, Brenau is working with the Georgia Department of Health and the Hall County Health Department to identify the source of the illness.
Brenau officials said the university will provide the Tdap booster shot to students and employees who need it free of charge at the Center for Health & Well-Being beginning Wednesday afternoon.