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Health department investigating whooping cough

SARANAC The Clinton County Health Department is working closely with school officials from the Saranac Central School District to deal with an outbreak of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough. According to a health department news release, the outbreak of pertussis has currently been contained to the Saranac school district. This is due to strong communication and collaboration with the school administration, school nurses, parents and local health care providers working closely with the local health department. The Clinton County Health Department has provided intense case investigation and follow-up to all children who may have been exposed to a person infected with pertussis. The illness is spread from person-to-person through close contact, being coughed on or sharing drinks. If someone has been in direct contact with a known case, they will receive a call from a public health nurse. Local health officials are asking parents do not contact their health care provider for medication or treatment unless directed by the health department. In an effort to reduce further transmission of the illness, two Tetnus/diphtheria acellular pertussis clinics have been held in the Saranac school district. Individuals with no symptoms, but who have been directly exposed, have also been treated with an antibiotic to further reduce spread. A total of nine students have tested positive for pertussis and received treatment. Many communities across the state and the country have been dealing with similar outbreaks due to the vaccine waning in children as they enter adolescence. Pertussis containing vaccine is given to all children as part of their normal schedule of childhood vaccination schedule. It is administered at ages two to 18 months and five years, as a kindergarten registration requirement. Because of continued outbreaks of pertussis illness, a booster using Tdap vaccine is now mandatory for 11-year-olds entering sixth grade in New York State. The Centers for Disease Control also recommends all people between the ages of 11 and 64 receive one dose of Tdap instead of Td, or tetanus/diphtheria, at their next immunization. Case investigation and follow-up continues to be a priority for the health department and school officials. Parents who have questions are encouraged to contact the Clinton County Health Department at 565-4848 for more information.

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