Officials in the Baldwinsville Central School District, in the Syracuse, NY metro area, sent a letter to parents this week concerning several diagnosed cases of the vaccine-preventable disease, pertussis, or whooping cough.

Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills
Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills

The school district says nearly all students within the District are vaccinated against pertussis. Our custodial staff members have taken extra measures to disinfect classrooms and common areas in the schools.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound (WATCH). Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.

There are vaccines for infants, children, preteens, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.