B. Bernice Young School Medical Alert

Burlington Township families are asked to take the necessary steps regarding pertussis.

The Burlington Township School District has been informed that one of the B. Bernice Young School students has been diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough. This is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads from person to person when the infected individual coughs or sneezes.

Burlington Township Schools has worked with the Burlington County Department of Health to provide this important information. Children under one year of age are at the greatest risk for serious complications. Therefore, it is very important to limit the spread of this infection.

Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which become much worse over 1–2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits followed by a whooping noise. The average incubation period for pertussis is 9–10 days and can range from 6–20 days overall.

Parents may want to be proactive and seek medical treatment even for slight coughs. Older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop. People with pertussis may have a series of severe coughing fits followed immediately 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.

To help reduce the spread of pertussis, and to prevent your child from developing the disease, the New Jersey Department of Health recommends the following:

  • Keep infants away from anyone with a cough. If an infant develops a cough please contact your primary care provider.
  • Parents, children, and any friends and relatives in contact with your children should be immunized against pertussis. If anyone in your family has not been completely vaccinated, speak with your primary care provider regarding immunization.
  • If your child develops cold symptoms, including several days of a cough, talk to your child’s primary care provider immediately. You may make the provider aware that a student at your school was diagnosed with pertussis.
  • Do not send your child to camp or school if there are any signs or symptoms of pertussis.

The school district will take the precautionary steps of additional cleaning at B. Bernice Young School as the summer progresses. The building is not currently in use due to construction and abatement. This cleaning will be completed with a hospital grade disinfectant in identified rooms, as well as water fountains, door knobs and other common area surfaces.

Please see the attached FAQ sheet for more information on pertussis and the pertussis vaccine. If you have any questions, please contact your primary care provider or the Burlington County Health Department at (609) 265–5533.