A case of whooping cough has been confirmed at Riverhead High School, according to a message to parents posted online by the district this week.
The school was notified of the diagnosis by the Suffolk County Health Department, who sent a notice to the school Wednesday.
The “highly contagious” bacterial infection is spread through the air by coughing, and is especially dangerous and can be fatal for infants.
Superintendent Nancy Carney could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.
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.”
Though no cases were reported at Riverhead High School last school year, two whooping cough cases were reported at Shoreham-Wading River High School.