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In a letter sent out to parents Wednesday afternoon, Indiana Area School District Director of Education Robert Heinrich announced the clinic and cited concerns raised by state Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, who said at least 45 cases are either confirmed or probable as whooping cough in Indiana County.

Levine said whooping cough “is a very contagious and serious disease of the respiratory system,” but that it is preventable with a vaccination.

Previously, it was reported that several cases of pertussis had been reported, particularly in the Indiana Area, Marion Center Area and Penns Manor Area school districts, as well as at the Indiana County Technology Center. The Health Department told Indiana Area school officials that additional cases are under investigation.

“We are holding this clinic in order to help ensure that the entire community is protected from this disease, which can be fatal, particularly in infants,” Levine told Indiana Area school officials.