main content starts here

Update on pertussis

Filed in Archive by on May 19, 2017

The school district has been informed by the Albany County Department of Health that there are two additional lab-confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) at the high school. These individuals have sought and received appropriate medical care, and all close contacts to these individuals have been identified and treated. There have been no additional confirmed cases reported at any other schools since our last outreach to staff and families on May 10.

Although the likelihood being exposed to pertussis through interaction at school is low, we feel it is important to keep you up-to-date with information related to any cases pertussis in our school community and remind you to watch for signs and symptoms of the disease. Awareness is our most effective tool in limiting the spread of pertussis. To ensure we are doing that to the best of our ability, we will be updating you weekly with this information (or more often if necessary) until the County Health Department reports there are zero cases of pertussis with links to any of our schools.

Here is what you need to know:

Pertussis is a contagious disease that is spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. 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 (a breath in may have 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. Persons at highest risk for severe complications and/or death from pertussis include infants, immunocompromised individuals, and patients with moderate to severe asthma.

If your child develops a persistent cough (present for a week or more), have him or her evaluated by your healthcare provider. The provider should be informed that pertussis has been diagnosed in an individual that your child may have had contact with at school.

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 or the health department otherwise gives approval.

Please be aware that pertussis can occur in persons who have received childhood vaccinations for this disease because protection decreases over time. This is a good time to make sure you, your child(ren), and other members of your household are up-to-date with immunizations. Your healthcare provider can help determine whether you should receive this vaccine.

More information and a fact sheet about pertussis is available here from the New York State Department of Health

If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact your child’s healthcare provider, your school nurse, or the Albany County Department of Health at (518) 447-4640.​