A student is confirmed to have pertussis, more commonly known as "whooping cough," a highly contagious respiratory disease.
The infected student is out of school and the district is following recommended protocols for cleaning school facilities and furniture, Superintendent J. Richard Boyes, Ed.D., assured parents in a letter Thursday.
"You will note that you need not do anything at this point but simply watch your child carefully for any symptoms," Boyes states in the letter. "If any symptoms present, you should contact your child's health provider for instructions regarding treatment at home until your child is cleared to return to school."
The Suffolk County Department of Health Services wrote to the parents as well, noting that the county has seen an increase in cases of whooping cough, which is spread through the air when an infected person coughs.
"A person with pertussis is infectious for 21 days from the start of the cough, or until he/she has been on five full days of appropriate antibiotic therapy," the health department writes. The disease can be fatal for infants who are not fully immunized, according to the department.
Whooping cough initially presents with mild respiratory symptoms for one to two week, with a slight cough and possibly a low-grade fever. The second stage include spasmodic coughing episodes, sometimes followed by long whooping sounds and/or vomiting/gagging and facial color changes, according to the health department. The second stage lasts up to six weeks. The final stage is gradual recovery, and coughing episodes may pertussis for weeks to months.
Once exposed, it can take 21 days for symptoms to develop, the health department states.
There is a pertussis vaccine for children 10 and older, and adults, which provides some protection, according to the health department.