30 students quarantined after 14 cases of whooping cough reported at Utah charter school

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Health

SALT LAKE COUNTY — The Salt Lake County Health Department is investigating an outbreak of pertussis at a charter school in Murray, and officials say a higher rate of students who are exempted from vaccines may have contributed to the larger than average outbreak.

Nicholas Rupp, a spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department, said they are investigating an outbreak of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, at the American International School of Utah, 4998 Galleria Drive in Murray.

The school was scheduled to begin their spring break on Monday, but the break began early as classes were cancelled by administrators Friday.

Rupp said as of Friday they are looking into 14 unconfirmed cases of pertussis at the school, and he said 30 students have been quarantined from school because they have not been vaccinated.

Rupp said the school has an 11 percent school-wide exemption rate for vaccinations, and he said that relatively higher rate of exemption may have contributed to the size of the outbreak.

Rupp said the time away from campus during spring break may help reduce the spread of the outbreak.

Rupp said the 30 students who are being asked to stay home are not vaccinated and are in the classes most affected by the outbreak, and he said those children will need to stay home for several weeks or until the outbreak ends.

Fox 13 News will have more information as it becomes available.