Health experts said a contagious bacterial infection is making a comeback. Now, parents and staff members at RHAM High School in Hebron are on alert, after a case of whopping cough was diagnosed.
“My daughter just told me about it. She goes to RHAM,” said Rich Callis.
School officials can’t reveal who was diagnosed with pertussis, or what’s more commonly known as “whooping cough,” but said someone from RHAM High School has the contagious bacterial infection, that causes uncontrollable coughing.
There are about 2,000 students and staff members at the school. Officials told NBC Connecticut they learned about the diagnosis and immediately notified parents and staff members this afternoon.
“The important thing was to notify people, so that if anyone showed the early signs, people would be aware and get treatment,” said Dr. Robert Siminski, Superintendent.
Early symptoms of the whooping cough resemble those usually associated with the common cold, such as sneezing, a runny nose or congestion. However, what makes the whooping cough so dangerous is the severe coughing fits that can begin a week or two after infection. Also, the vaccine for pertussis is said to weaken over time; some people may have to be revaccinated.
“That’s why we want to ensure [people] that we do everything we can to mitigate its impact on the learning community,” said Dr. Siminski.
However, Mike Amato, who graduated from RHAM this year, said containment may be difficult, since illnesses spread easily throughout schools.
“For it to spread through the school, I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Amato.
That’s why Callis said he’ll do what he can to keep his daughter healthy.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t come down with certain symptoms,” added Callis.
Anyone exhibiting symptoms associated with the whooping cough is urged to see a doctor.
You can read more about the illness on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, at: www.cdc.gov/pertussis/