Important pertussis information

The following information was provided to all parents at Lynch Literacy Academy on June 10, 2019.

We were notified today by the Montgomery County Public Health Department that at this time there has been a second confirmed case of pertussis at Lynch Literacy Academy.

Direct contacts are being notified and are being asked to see their doctor for prophylactic treatment. If they have symptoms, they should request their doctor obtain a nasal-pharyngeal (N-P) swab for diagnosis and be started on an antibiotic.

    • Direct contacts with symptoms should stay home from school and community activities until they have been on their antibiotic for 5 days or the N-P swab comes back negative.
    • Asymptomatic contacts are not communicable, can attend school and should receive antibiotics to prevent the disease.

Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease that is spread by direct face to face contact with an infected person. The incubation period is usually 7-10 days but may be as long as 21 days. An infected person once treated with an antibiotic for 5 days is no longer communicable even if they still have a cough. An infected person is communicable from the onset of symptoms until 21 days after the onset of the cough if untreated.

Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs (“coughing fits”) followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults, and very young infants may not develop the whoop. There is generally only a slight fever. People with pertussis may have a series of coughs followed by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching their breath. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. Please keep in mind these above symptoms and seek medical attention.

Infants under one year old, especially those under six months, are most likely to have severe symptoms if they develop pertussis. Children are vaccinated for pertussis with their childhood shots. The protection for pertussis decreases as they get older. It is recommended that at some point all adults receive one dose of Tdap when they are due for a Td booster.

For more information on pertussis, a fact sheet from New York State Department of Health is available here.

If you have any questions, please contact your primary care physician or call Montgomery County Public Health at 518-853-3531.

Sincerely,
Dr. Ray Colucciello