November 23, 2018 8:30 a.m.
Confirmed cases of whooping cough were identified at Massey High School.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit sends a letter to parents, guardians and students on Friday warning that whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection caused by bacteria that causes severe coughing.
The health unit says whooping cough starts with cold-like symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, mild fever, and mild cough and usually lasts one to two weeks then worsens with many explosive cough bursts that can interfere with breathing, eating and sleeping and is usually followed by choking, vomiting, and fatigue. Health officials add that coughing can be followed by a high-pitched loud voice or "whooping" sound when people struggle to breathe. They say the fever is absent or minimal and coughing can last several weeks or maybe months.
Infected people can spread bacteria into the air when they cough, sneeze or speak, and that can be passed on to other people for up to 20 days from when the symptoms begin. The health unit added that the disease can affect people of all ages but it is the most dangerous for babies and children. Residents are urged to be immunized to eliminate the risk of becoming sick.
Health officials say you should contact your health care provider if you think you or your child has come into contact with whooping cough and has developed respiratory symptoms.
If you have questions or concerns, please contact the health unit at 519-258-2146 ext. 1420 during business hours or visit their website at www.wechu.org.