Whooping Cough On The Rise

Filed under: News |

Several Whooping Cough cases have been reported throughout Long Island.  There was recently a case at a local camp.  Below is a letter that was sent out to community members who may have come in direct contact with an individual who had the illness. 

Dear Parents and Community Members:

The Suffolk County Department of Health recently notified us that an individual attending Cougar Camp Session III from July 9-13 at Commack High School was diagnosed as having Pertussis, commonly known as “whooping cough.”

This individual is being treated by his or her doctor and is no longer attending the camp. As Pertussis is highly contagious, it is possible that subsequent cases will be diagnosed.

For more information about Pertussis, please click here for the letter from the Department of Health. The letter provides an explanation of the disease, how it is spread, and how it is treated.

Pertussis, also known as “Whooping Cough,” is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by cough.  Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough that worsens over 1-2 weeks.  The most common symptoms of this illness include a long series of coughs sometimes called “coughing fits,” frequently worsening at night.  Children and adults may still develop Pertussis even if they are up to date with their vaccinations as immunity to Pertussis wanes over the years. 

If your child was exposed to Pertussis, it may take up to three weeks for symptoms to develop.  Immunocompromised children may take longer to develop symptoms.  If your child shows any signs of this illness, he/she should be evaluated by a physician who can perform a specific throat swab to test for the disease and determine if antibiotics are necessary.  If your child is already sick, giving antibiotics early can help your child get well faster and lower the chances of spreading the disease to others.  Family members and close contacts should also receive antibiotics if the child is diagnosed with Pertussis. 

A new combination Tetanus/Pertussis vaccine is available which can provide protection against the disease.  You can discuss administration of this vaccine with your physician. 

Should you have any questions or concerns regarding Pertussis, you may contact the Suffolk County Department of Health at (631) 853- 3055 or your family physician. As always, we stand ready to support you and the health and well being of your family. For additional information on Pertussis, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov or www.pertussis.com.

Very truly yours,

Donald A. James Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


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