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.