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Whooping cough outbreak in Rensselaer County

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Albany/HV: Whooping cough outbreak in Rensselaer County
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A trend that's been reported both across the state and country is now being seen in Rensselaer County. Our Beth Croughan has more on a recent increase in Whooping cough cases.

TROY, N.Y. -- Back in July, the State Health Department reported an increase in Whooping cough cases this year. It is a trend seen across the country and now, in Rensselaer County.

"Doctors offices, school nurses and other facilities are obligated and required to report to us by law," said Sarah Duvall, Rensselaer County Epidemiology Coordinator.

Duvall studies disease patterns for the County Health Department. She said between 2004 to 2010, they had no more than 15 cases of the contagious disease each year. But this year, they've had more than that in just the past two months.

"We've had 17 cases out of the 26 that we've had so far this year, occur in August and September," she said.

Whooping cough, Duvall said, starts like a common cold, but as it continues, the coughing gets worse.

"People begin having coughing fits, young children might make a whooping noise afterwards, they have a very difficult time catching breath."

While those affected have ranged from four-months to 59-years-old, Duvall said it's been seen mostly in children under the age of 15.

Averill Park Schools Superintendent James Hoffman says his district hasn't had any outbreaks, but that he's aware of the cases across the county.

"We're aware. You have protocols to deal with it if a case occurs. But in the meantime you just are cautious and encourage students to continue the normal precautions of washing hands," said Hoffman.

Duvall said vaccines are the best way for people to protect themselves.

For more information, call the Rensselaer County Department of Health at (518) 270-2655 or visit www.rensco.com

More information from Rensselaer County Dept. of Health

To protect yourself from the disease or from spreading it to others, residents should take the following measures:

* Immunization*

•Children should receive four doses of the DTaP vaccine between two to eighteen months of age and an additional dose before starting school.

•A pertussis booster vaccine for persons of ages above seven depending on risk may help to provide added protection against pertussis for adolescents and adults.

*Sneeze and Cough Hygiene*

•Sneezing and coughing into your elbow or a tissue (not into your hands or the air).

*Staying away from others when you are sick.*

* Proper Treatment including quick diagnosis*

•Persons diagnosed with pertussis must take the full course of antibiotics prescribed by their physician and remain isolated until they have completed five days of treatment in order to limit the spread of pertussis.

•If you think you, a friend or family member has pertussis or has been in contact with a pertussis case, consult your health care provider or the Rensselaer County Department of Health.

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