Local health department and school officials confirmed an eighth-grade student at was diagnosed with whooping cough Thursday.
North Shore Health Department Director Jamie Berg said whooping cough is highly contagious, and cases have recently been confirmed in Mequon, Milwaukee and Waukesha County. The health department, which serves seven North Shore communities, also confirmed two cases in Glendale in November.
The Whitefish Bay catholic grade school sent out a letter from the health department explaining whooping cough to parents Thursday, and so far, Berg said no parents have called with any questions. The infected student is home from school completing antibiotic treatment.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is characterized by a persistent cough, runny nose and low-grade fever.
“Many of these symptoms are the same as the common cold, but it’s the persistent cough that’s a problem. It has a different sound to it,” Berg said.
Whooping cough vaccines are available at hospitals and at the North Shore Health Department, but vaccines are not available to babies under six months of age. If a young baby is infected, it could cause the baby to die, Berg said.
“Parents should always immunize their children and immunize themselves,” she said.
If you or someone in your family exhibits symptoms of whooping cough, Berg recommends going to the doctor and getting tested. If diagnosed, stay home from work or school until you complete the antibiotic treaments.
For those interested in receiving a pertussis vaccine, contact your local hospital or call North Shore Health Department at (414) 371-2980 to make an appointment.