A Nicholas County High School student has been diagnosed with whooping cough, according to a letter sent home to parents. The letter also notified parents of a case of chicken pox.
The student with whooping cough has been treated with antibiotics for five days and is now considered non-contagious.
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The announcement comes on the heels of Tuesday's news that a student at Shannon Johnson Elementary School in Berea may also have whooping cough.
Whooping cough, formally called pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection spread through tiny drops of fluid from an infected person's nose or mouth.
It begins with cold-like symptoms and sometimes progresses to uncontrollable coughing spells. Children with the disease often exhibit the characteristic "whooping" sound when they breathe in between coughs. Adults, teens, and vaccinated children usually have milder symptoms, but whooping cough can be dangerous to infants or people with lung disease.
Infants may not cough or whoop as older children do; they may instead have a reddened face, look like they're gasping for air, and may stop breathing for a few seconds during particularly bad coughing spells.
Whooping cough is most contagious during the earliest stage of the illness (up to two weeks after the coughing begins), but antibiotics can shorten the period of contagiousness to five days.
Most students in Nicholas County have been immunized against whooping cough, but it is still possible for the disease to spread, even among those who have been immunized.
If you believe your child has come into contact with someone who has whooping cough, or displays possible symptoms, it is strongly advised that you seek medical assistance immediately.