CHATHAM, NJ - The School District of the Chathams has sent out a notification to inform parents that a second case of Pertussis, more commonly known as "Whooping Cough" has been contracted by a student at Chatham High School.

The first case of the highly contagious "Whooping Cough" had been reported by Dr. LaSusa at the Chatham Board of Education meeting on Sept. 12.

A portion of the letter sent out by Superintendent Dr. Michael LaSusa is published below:

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Dear Parent/Guardian:

I am writing to make you aware that we have had a second confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) identified in one of our students at Chatham High School. This student, who was fully immunized, is receiving appropriate antibiotic treatment. We bring this to your attention so that you may take extra precautions on behalf of your children and the rest of our community--closely monitoring the health of your children and seeking medical treatment for persistent coughing and other symptoms that are detailed in this letter.

The fall is a time when colds and allergies result in the development of symptoms which could be considered typical for this season. In light of the information we received about the presence of pertussis in our community, we join our local health department in asking for your extra vigilance in seeking medical attention for lingering coughs, which might otherwise seem to be "normal" for this time of year. Pertussis can be a serious threat to the health and safety of the community, most notably infants and young children.

We appreciate your assistance in containing its spread through careful monitoring of your child's health, by close medical supervision and by keeping sick students home. Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by a cough or a sneeze. Pertussis begins with cold symptoms and a cough, which become much worse over 1-2 weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughing fits followed by a whooping noise. However, older children, adults and very young infants may not develop the whoop.

There is generally only a slight fever. People with pertussis may have a series of severe coughing fits followed immediately by vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty catching breath. The cough is often worse at night, and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough. If your child has been around someone with pertussis, s/he might become sick with the disease. This is especially true if your child is not up-to-date with his/her pertussis vaccine shots. Even if your child’s shots are up-to-date, s/he might still get pertussis. If your child has been in contact with someone with pertussis, antibiotics prescribed by your doctor may prevent him/her from becoming ill. If your child is already sick, giving antibiotics early can help your child get well faster and lower the chances of spreading the disease to others.