Commack school officials have confirmed a new case of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, at Commack High School.
Superintendent Donald James said the district received word an individual from was diagnosed with pertussis in a letter to parents dated May 15, published on the district's website. There was no clarification whether the individual is a student or staff member.
"This individual is being treated by his or her doctor and will only return to school once cleared by a medical professional. As Pertussis is highly contagious, it is possible that subsequent cases will be diagnosed," James wrote.
There have been 11 students diagnosed with whooping cough in Commack School District since the first case at Commack High School in In the past three months, cases have been reported at the high school, one at Commack Middle School, three at Burr Intermediate School, one at Indian Hollow Middle School and two at Sawmill Intermediate.
James directed parents to a letter from the Suffolk County Department of Health explaining the disease, how it is spread, and how it is treated has been mailed to the parents of Sawmill students.
The message posted on the district website provides information about the disease and directs parents and staff to call the county Department of Health Services at 631-853-3055, with questions about the disease and the Pertussis vaccine.
According to the Suffolk County Department of health, Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory illness that is spread through the air by cough from an infected individual. It can take up to three weeks for symptoms to develop and last for up to six weeks.
Symptoms include fever and coughing fits accompanied by long whooping sounds and or vomiting/gagging. In some cases, whooping cough can be fatal to infants who are not fully immunized.