Whooping cough reported in Riverhead schools

02/25/2014 8:05 AM |
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO

Whooping cough cases have once again been reported in Riverhead schools, the district confirmed yesterday.

The district notified parents on Monday, stating in a message that “we continue to have new cases of Pertussis in the Riverhead Central School District. The cases are not limited to one school.” 

It was not immediately clear which schools were affected or how many cases had been reported recently. Superintendent Nancy Carney said via email Tuesday morning, “We have had 12 cases since the beginning of the school year in various buildings. There have been no cases in Phillips Ave.”

Cases were previously reported this school year in early December and mid-November, though the county Department of Health Services states that upon getting whooping cough, it could take individuals up to three weeks to show symptoms — in rare cases, up to six weeks.

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.