02/25/14 8:05am
02/25/2014 8:05 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

Whooping cough cases have once again been reported in Riverhead schools, the district confirmed yesterday.

The district notified parents on Monday, stating in a message that “we continue to have new cases of Pertussis in the Riverhead Central School District. The cases are not limited to one school.”  (more…)

12/15/13 12:00pm
12/15/2013 12:00 PM

A new FDA study could help explain the re-emergence of whooping cough, a contagious disease that has claimed the lives of more children than scarlet fever, diphtheria or measles during its height, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

48,000 cases of pertussis were confirmed nationally last year, resulting in 20 deaths, according to the FDA report.

The East End is hardly immune, as cases of pertussis have been reported in the past month at both Riverhead High School and the district’s Pulaski Street School, according to school officials. The number of cases was not disclosed.

Several cases of whooping cough have been confirmed each year since 2011 — and possibly earlier — not only in Riverhead but in the Shoreham-Wading River, Southold and the Mattituck-Cutchogue school districts as well.

The FDA study, published Nov. 25, showed that the while the current vaccine for the pertussis prevents adults and children from contracting the illness themselves, it does not prevent people from becoming colonized with the bacteria that causes it – Bordetella pertussis.

And those who are colonized can pass on the bacteria – infecting others, particularly infants not yet fully immunized, the study found.

“[The vaccine] is not protecting us to the full degree. It is protecting us from not developing clinical symptoms but it doesn’t protect us from being carriers,” said Dr. Yuliya Vinnitskaya, a new internal medicine physician at East End Physician Services in Southold. “Those vaccinated can carry the bacteria in airways for up to six weeks and spread it to infants.”

Pertussis starts out with typical cold symptoms that slowly become more severe, eventually manifesting with spells of rapid, violent coughing followed a “whooping” sound as patients try to take a breath, according to the CDC.

Those infected can spread the bacteria while they are suffering from the cold-like symptoms and for about two weeks after the coughing starts. Infection develops 7 to 10 days following exposure to the bacteria and symptoms can last for up to three months.

Dr. Vinnitskaya said the FDA’s recent findings call for the development of a new vaccine.

The current vaccine is what’s known as an acellular vaccine – which only contains portions of the pertussis bacteria. The FDA approved it in 1991, replacing its predecessor, which contained dead, but complete, forms of the bacteria. Dr. Vinnitskaya said.

The FDA is also investigating the possibility of diminished immunity from childhood pertussis vaccines, which it says may also play a role in re-emergence.

Infants begin immunizations for the disease starting at two months old – receiving a series of five shots – but they do not achieve full immunity until their last shot, which is given between ages 4 and 6, according to the CDC. Preteens and teens also receive a booster shot between the ages 11 and 18.

Dr. Vinnitskaya said infants are most likely to contract the disease from a loved one, so parents, grandparents and even siblings need to be extra cautious around young children.

Should someone come in contact with an infected individual and develop cold-like symptoms, she recommends they visit their physician.

And, of course, lots of hand washing is essential. It’s also flu season, after all.

Got a health question or column idea? Email Carrie Miller at cmiller@timesreview.com.

fda

12/03/13 11:15am
FILE PHOTO | Whooping cough cases have been confirmed at Riverhead High School and Pulaski Street School.

FILE PHOTO | Whooping cough cases have been confirmed at Riverhead High School and Pulaski Street School.

An unidentified amount of whooping cough cases have been confirmed at both the Riverhead High School and Pulaski Street School, according to a voicemail message sent to parents by the district Monday night.

Assistant superintendent of personnel David Wicks said in the voicemail, “At the time the cases were confirmed, the individuals were no longer contagious.”

“We will be taking necessary precautions to ensure the health and well-being of the students and staff of these buildings,” he continued. “These precautions include, but are not limited to, sanitizing desks and other surfaces throughout the building. If your child develops a severe, uncontrolled cough, you should call your doctor immediately.”

No other details about the reported respiratory illnesses, technically called pertussis, were mentioned in the voicemail.

Mr. Wicks and Superintendent Nancy Carney did not immediately return an email request seeking further details.

The only whooping cough case posted on the district’s website as of 10:30 a.m. was of the district’s last reported case on Nov. 13, in which a case of whooping cough was confirmed at Riverhead High School.

Whooping cough, which health officials have described as “highly contagious,” is transported through the air by coughing and can be fatal for infants.

Early symptoms of whooping cough are a mild cough, a runny nose and a low fever, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the disease persists the traditional symptoms of a high pitched “whooping” cough, vomiting and exhaustion after coughing fits may appear. Coughing fits may persist for weeks, health officials said. The best way to prevent the disease is immunization, the CDC states on its website, though those vaccinated can still be infected as vaccination “wanes over the years.”

Adults and children, however, may develop pertussis even if they are up to date on their vaccination since immunization wanes over the years, according to the health department. If you suspect that your child has contracted whooping cough, it is urged you contact their physician and request your child is tested for the disease using a special nasal/throat swab.

Those suffering from whooping cough are asked to stay home until he or she has completed five days of antibiotic treatment, according to the county health department.

jennifer@timesreview.com

11/14/13 5:33pm
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO

A case of whooping cough has been confirmed at Riverhead High School, according to a message to parents posted online by the district this week.

The school was notified of the diagnosis by the Suffolk County Health Department, who sent a notice to the school Wednesday.

The “highly contagious” bacterial infection is spread through the air by coughing, and is especially dangerous and can be fatal for infants.

Superintendent Nancy Carney could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

Early symptoms of whooping cough are a mild cough, a runny nose and a low fever, according to the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the disease persists the traditional symptoms of a high pitched “whooping” cough, vomiting and exhaustion after coughing fits may appear. Coughing fits may persist for weeks, health officials said. The best way to prevent the disease is immunization, the CDC states on its website, though those vaccinated can still be infected as vaccination “wanes over the years.”

Though no cases were reported at Riverhead High School last school year, two whooping cough cases were reported at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

psquire@timesreview.com

03/07/13 11:23am
03/07/2013 11:23 AM
CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | A case of whooping cough was confirmed at Shoreham-Wading River High School last Thursday.

CARRIE MILLER FILE PHOTO | A case of whooping cough was confirmed at Shoreham-Wading River High School last Thursday.

A case of whooping cough was confirmed in Shoreham-Wading River High School last Thursday, according to a letter posted on the district’s website issued by the Suffolk County Department of Health and Human Services.

The affected student was not identified.

Officials said there has been a recent increase in pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, throughout the county and are urging parents to monitor their children for symptoms, specifically a persistent cough.

People are contagious for 2-3 weeks after the onset of the cough, officials said, and can be effectively treated with antibiotics during that time.

The county is directing parents seeking more information on pertussis, including the symptoms, to visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/pertussis.

Whooping cough, which is transported through the air by coughing, is especially dangerous and can be fatal for infants.

Early symptoms of whooping cough are a mild cough, a runny nose and a low fever, according to the Centers for Disease control.

As the disease persists the traditional symptoms of a high pitched “whooping” cough, vomiting and exhaustion after coughing fits may appear. Coughing fits may persist for weeks. The best way to prevent the disease is immunization, the CDC states on its website.

Adults and children, however, may develop pertussis even if they are up to date on their vaccination since immunization wanes over the years, according to the health department. If you suspect that your child has contracted whooping cough, it is urged you contact their physician and request your child is tested for the disease using a special nasal/throat swab.

Those suffering from whooping cough are asked to stay home until he or she has completed five days of antibiotic treatment, according to the county health department.

In December, a whooping cough case was also confirmed at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

jennifer@timesreview.com