Parents were notified by letters this week by the West Branch Elementary school. Officials at the school say they are working with the department of health to alert parents and take all the necessary precautions. The children who shared a classroom or bus with the infected student were notified specifically.

“It’s very contagious but you basically have to be exposed to the droplets. Somebody coughing directly at you, you could get it. 
Somebody coughing on to a hard surface and then touching that hard surface and touching your face could expose you to it too,” explains Doctor Sherri Sortor-Thompson.
Dr. Sortor Thompson is a pediatric doctor at Penn Highlands in Clearfield. She says the past few days have been busy with parents bringing in their children to be checked because of those school letters that were sent out.  She tells us children who are vaccinated are at less of a risk but can still catch the infection- however their symptoms may be less noticeable.  
“It’s so hard at the beginning because the first stage at the beginning is so much like a common cold and all the kids are back to school, so now they’re all passing their germs back and forth. So we’re seeing a lot of colds, a lot of URI symptoms and all those kids with URI symptoms do not have pertussis.”

Dr. Sortor-Thompson says parents should be taking minor precautions if they have come in contact with the child.  If your child has a cough, it is advised to keep them home from school to stop the spreading of any germs. However, it is stressed just because your child has a cough, does not mean they have pertussis.  It is more likely your child has a common cold. 

<div style=”color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-family: Calibri, Helvetica, sans-serif, EmojiFont, ” apple=”” color=”” emoji”,=”” “segoe=”” ui=”” notocoloremoji,=”” symbol”,=”” “android=”” emojisymbols;=”” font-size:=”” 16px;”=””> More information may be found on the school district’s website.