Confirmed whooping cough cases at Horlick H.S., City of Mequon

The Racine United School District is reporting what's believed to be the district's first case of whooping cough. A letter was sent home Tuesday with students at Horlick High School. In it, district officials say they received confirmation of a case of pertussis at the school.

District spokeswoman Stacy Tapp says the student returned to classes Monday after completing the required five-day course of antibiotics. She says the student went to the doctor during the Thanksgiving break last week and began treatment.

Tapp declined to comment on the student's age, grade level and gender.

The City of Mequon has also confirmed four cases of whooping cough. None of the confirmed Mequon cases are students in the Mequon-Thiensville School District, but these students do share buses with students who attend other schools.

The health department says whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, begins with cold symptoms and a cough which becomes much worse over one to two weeks. Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs followed by a whooping noise. Symptoms usually appear seven to 20 days after exposure to the illness.

At this time, the health department is not recommending students and staff seek preventative treatment, but say that if a student or staff member develops symptoms, they should contact their doctor immediately.

Children who have the whooping cough vaccine are still getting the illness, so doctors now recommend children get a booster shot at 11 years of age, and every 10 years thereafter.

Earlier this month, 11 confirmed cases of whooping cough were reported at North Middle School in Menomonee Falls, and another five cases at other schools in the city.