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Second case of pertussis is confirmed at Stevens School

Burnt Hills: Stevens School has been informed that a second fifth grade student has a confirmed case of pertussis, also called whooping cough.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) pertussis is a respiratory illness and is a very contagious disease. Transmission of the disease is by person to person, usually by sneezing or coughing while in close contact with others.

Informational letters to parents from Stevens principal Ralph Rothacker were sent home with students on January 24 and on January 26. Although most people receive several inoculations against pertussis at a young age, many reasons remain as to why cases of pertussis continue to grow across the US. The childhood vaccine for pertussis is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.

Mr. Rothacker's letters include answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the disease. "There is information here that will be new to some parents, for instance about booster shots for older children and adults," he says. "I urge all parents to read this and to call their physician if they have further questions. Nurse Tracey Hay and I remain in direct contact with the Saratoga County Department of Health and will continue to follow their advice."

Mr. Rothacker is also asking parents to promote the same good hygiene rules as the school, as follows:

● Teach children to cough into a tissue or into their sleeve (crook of their elbow), rather than into their hands. Then to place the used tissue promptly in the waste basket and to wash their hands.

● Remind children and adults about proper hand washing technique, including the use of hot water and soap.

● Keep bathrooms well supplied with soap and paper towels. Hand sanitizers can also be helpful in situations where soap and water are not available.

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