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Bellport High teacher has rubella, South Country school officials say

South Country Central School District officials on Friday alerted parents and students that a teacher has contracted rubella, also known as German measles, a contagious disease that experts said begins in children as a rash on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.

“The Health Office has been notified that a faculty member at the Bellport High School has been diagnosed with rubella (German Measles),” read a note sent by district officials to parents on Friday. “We are notifying you so you may watch your child for any signs or symptoms of the disease.”

Suffolk health department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern said health officials are aware of the report of someone contracting rubella but that they had not confirmed the presence of the disease.

District officials declined to comment beyond the statement to parents. Board members could not be reached or declined to comment.

The district’s note listed the symptoms of rubella in children, which include a low-grade fever, a headache, mild pink eye, general discomfort, swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, a cough and a runny nose. The letter also urged parents to contact the school’s health office at 631-730-1580 and their children’s health care providers if their children present any symptoms.

The symptoms last about three days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which posts information about the disease on its website. Experts said the disease is spread by sneezing and coughing.

In adults, the CDC said rubella appears as a mild illness with low-grade fever, sore throat and a rash similar to that in children.

"Rubella can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant," it said.

The agency also said that between 25 and 50 percent of people infected with rubella show no signs of it.

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