Pertussis Educational Information

Letter from Fulton County Public Health

October 11,2019

Dear Parents, Students and Staff,

Fulton County Public Health Department would like to make you aware that the county is seeing sporadic cases of pertussis. Direct contacts are being notified and being asked to see their doctor for prophylactic treatment. If an individual has symptoms, their doctor should be requested to obtain an  N-P  (nasal-pharyngeal) swab for diagnosis prior to starting  their antibiotic. Direct contacts with symptoms should stay home from work, daycare, school and community activities until they have been on their antibiotic for 5 days or the N-P swab comes back negative. Direct asymptomatic contacts should receive antibiotics to prevent the disease and are considered not communicable.

Pertussis  is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread by direct face to face contact with an infected person. The average incubation period is usually 7 to I 0 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 st ill have a cough.  An infected person  is communicable  from the onset of symptoms until 21 days after the onset of cough.

Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which becomes much worse over I to 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 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 should these symptoms develop.

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 wanes as they get older.  It is also recommended that at some point all adults receive one dose of Tdap when they are due for a Td booster.

If any other confirmed cases are found, the contacts of that person will also be notified.

Please see enclosed  pertussis fact sheet. If you have any additional  questions or concerns  please call the Fulton County Public Health Department at (518)-736-5720, Monday thru Friday, 8 am – 4pm.


Laurel Headwell MS Public Health Director
Fulton County Public Health Department


Pertussis or Whooping Cough? – NYS Dept, of Health

Protect Yourself from Whooping Cough – Immunization Action Coalition

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Questions & Answers – Immunization Action Coalition