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Confirmed case of Whooping Cough at Boght Hills


Posted October 2, 2012


The Albany County Department of Health has informed us that an individual who attends Boght Hills Elementary School has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). This individual has sought and received the appropriate medical care, and all close contacts to this individual have been identified and treated. Because your child may have been exposed to pertussis through interaction with this individual, this letter is being sent to inform you about the signs and symptoms of pertussis.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread from person to person. People with pertussis can spread the disease when coughing or sneezing while in close contact to others. Usually, pertussis begins with cold-like symptoms which can include a low-grade fever and a mild cough. After 1-2 weeks the cough becomes worse and people may experience a series of coughing fits that may be followed by vomiting, difficulty catching their breath (breath in with a “whooping” sound), and fatigue. The cough is often worse at night and it may not be relieved with cough medications. These coughing fits can last for many weeks. The illness may be milder and the characteristic whoop absent in those who were previously vaccinated.

If your child develops a persistent cough (present for a week or more), have them evaluated by their healthcare provider. The provider should be informed that pertussis has been diagnosed in an individual that your child may have contact with at school. Your child should be tested for pertussis, which involves swabbing the nasal passageway to identify the pertussis-causing bacteria. If the healthcare provider determines that your child has pertussis, treatment with antibiotics is recommended to help your child get well faster and to lower the risk of spreading the disease to others. Your child cannot return to school/work/extracurricular activities until 5 days of antibiotic treatment has been completed.

Pertussis can occur in those who have received childhood vaccination for this condition because protection decreases over time. In fact, since 1980 the number of cases reported annually in the United States has increased, with adolescents and adults accounting for a substantial percentage of reported cases. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a single dose of pertussis vaccination (called Tdap) for children aged 7 to 10 years if they have not completed their primary vaccination series, children aged 11 to 18 years, and adults aged 19 years and older if they have not received a dose already. We recommend you take this opportunity to be sure that you, your child, and other members of your household are up-to-date with the pertussis vaccination. Please contact your primary healthcare provider to determine whether you should receive this vaccination.

For more information, you can download a pertussis fact sheet here [PDF].

If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact your child’s healthcare provider or the Albany County Department of Health at 447-4640.



Kimberly S. Greiner
Boght Hills Principal


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