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Penn Yan student has whooping cough

PENN YAN-A middle school student in the Penn Yan school district has been diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
Superintendent of Schools Howard Dennis sent a letter to parents April 26 advising them to make sure their family's vaccinations are up to date. He stated, "Remember it is still possible for vaccinated children to become ill."
Sara Christensen, supervising public health nurse for Yates County said, "There are cases in all the counties of New York state. There have been 10 since Jan. 1. This is Yates County's first case this year--two were reported in all of 2016. Christensen said, "It is definitely a lot more than what we saw last year, but each year can vary."
Pertussis is a serious and contagious lung infection caused by bacteria. It can be life-threatening for babies who have small air-ways. Pregnant women and mothers of infants are urged to vaccinate themselves to prevent spreading the illness to their babies.
Pertussis is communicated through coughing and sneezing. Christensen said, "You have to have face-to-face contact for at least an hour. It is prolonged contact we are most worried about, sitting in your office at work or in a classroom setting. Those individuals are encouraged to talk to the doctor to take a course of antibiotic treatment to prevent infection."
Symptoms usually appear in four to 21 days after infection. Initially the illness looks like a common cold or allergy. A cough develops and usually gets worse especially at night. The cough can last for several weeks or more.
An individual with pertussis is contagious for the first three weeks of the illness unless treated with an antibiotic. After five days of treatment, contagion ceases and a normal routine can be resumed.
Adult vaccinations are available at any pharmacy. For the uninsured, most health departments have it for a low cost or for free. The recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. It protects against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis.
Pertussis is common in the United States and in many other countries. Doctors advise that the entire family be fully vaccinated before traveling.

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