Whooping cough found at Massey High

File photo of woman coughing. Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / HighwayStarz

A confirmed case of whooping cough has been identified at Massey High School.

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit sent a letter to parents, guardians and students on Friday warning that whooping cough is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory tract caused by a bacteria that causes severe cough.

The health unit said whooping cough starts off with cold-like symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and mild occasional cough and usually lasts one to two weeks then worsens with numerous bursts of explosive coughing that can interrupt breathing, eating and sleeping and is commonly followed by gagging, vomiting, and exhaustion. Health officials added that the coughing may be followed by loud high-pitched crowing or “whooping” sounds as people struggle to breathe. They said fever is absent or minimal and the cough can last several weeks or perhaps months.

Infected people can spread the bacteria into the air when they cough, sneeze or talk, and it can be passed on to others for up to 20 days from when the symptoms began. The health unit added the disease can affect people of any age but it is most dangerous for babies and young children. Residents are urged to get immunized to eliminate the risk of becoming sick.

Health officials said you should contact your health care provider if you think you or your child have come in contact with whooping cough and have developed respiratory symptoms.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the health unit at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420 during business hours or visit their website at www.wechu.org.