A highly contagious respiratory illness has been confirmed at Northport High School on Long Island. A case of Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, was confirmed by the Suffolk County Department of Health.
A notice was issued on Monday to the community. This makes the 45th case this year in Suffolk County.
The illness is often spread through the air through coughing by the infected individual.
Individuals with the case may experience uncontrollable coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. There is also a whooping sound while gasping for air. Once one is exposed to it, it can take up to 21 days for symptoms to develop.
There are three stages to Pertussis:
Stage one involves a low-grade fever and mild cough that may last for one or two weeks.
Stage two involves spasmodic coughing followed by long whooping sounds that can last for six weeks or more. There may also be instances of vomiting/gagging, and/or facial color changes following coughing episodes.
Stage three involves coughing episodes that may last for up to 100 days, however, the infection is no longer contagious after appropriate antibiotic treatment.
Even if one is updated on vaccinations, immunity to Pertussis may wane over the years, but being up-to-date on vaccinations remains the best defense, according to a statement by Suffolk County Health Department's Dr. Shaheda Iftikar.
Anyone infected should contact their doctor for appropriate antibiotic treatment, according to Dr. Iftikar. Children infected should remain home until five days of antibiotic treatment is completed.
More information on Pertussis is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or by calling the Division of Disease Control at (631) 854-0333.