RCAS confirms whooping cough case at Central HS

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Rapid City Area Schools (RCAS) has confirmed a case of pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” at Central High School.

The school district learned of the case on Friday and contacted staff members and the parents of the school’s more-than-2,000 students, advising them of the situation. The notice also described the signs and symptoms of pertussis.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that can cause severe dry, unproductive coughing spells, characterized by a whooping gasp for air as the spell forces all the air from the lungs.

According to the website WebMD pertussis is highly contagious, but requires close contact with an infected person to spread. When a person with the illness speaks, laughs, sneezes, or coughs, small droplets containing the bacteria can fly though the air.

A spokesperson for RCAS says they have identified 65 students and staff who may have come in close contact with the infected person.

Whooping cough is considered dangerous for young children, especially infants younger than six months.

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