As the numbers mount for victims of Missoula’s community-wide pertussis outbreak, MCPS Superintendent Mark Thane said on Friday at less than one percent of all students in the district have been affected by the disease.

“We’ve been very diligent in collaborating with the Missoula City County Health Department, as well as trying to follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control) protocols in regards to the community outbreak of pertussis,” said Thane. “That outbreak has touched five schools in MCPS presently and the protocols call for the screening of those individuals that are identified as close contacts with those who have had positive tests.”

Thane said pertussis has affected several schools within the district.

“We’re sitting right now with about 15 cases, maybe a little more than that than have been identified in the district,” he said. “We’ve got our three urban high schools all with some cases, one middle school and one elementary school. I understand that it’s present in other venues in the county, so we’re as diligently as we can we're trying to identify close contacts and doing an initial screening.”

Thane said despite the community-wide outbreak, he doesn’t see any major disruptions in the district between now and the end of the school year.

“I don’t anticipate that it will,” he said. “The largest scale impact we have still is hitting less than one percent of the student body of any giver school, so it’s not what I would term at epidemic proportion. It’s certainly an outbreak and something that we would obviously like to stem as quickly as possible, so early detection and treatment is critical.”

As of Saturday, NBC Montana reported that there have been 47 cases of pertussis reported in Missoula.

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