A Pioneer High School student was recently diagnosed with pertussis, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease that can be severe, particularly in young children.

Pertussis can spread easily among susceptible household members and in group settings like schools, childcare centers, workplaces and sports teams, says Health Department Medical Director Jessie Marshall.

Adolescents and adults are also at risk for infection with the disease since vaccine protection decreases over time, Marshall said.

The health department advises people of all ages to contact their health care provider if they have the following symptoms:

  • Intermittent cough
  • Vomiting after coughing spells
  • Cough lasting seven days or more

Pertussis is spread through airborne droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. The highest chance of it spreading happens during the early stage when symptoms resemble a cold. Symptoms can appear seven to 10 days after exposure, the health department says.

According to the Health Department, children under 18 months of age should have received four doses of pertussis vaccine. After the age of four, children should receive a fifth dose prior to entering kindergarten.

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