Weston Middle School alerted parents Tuesday that two cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, had been confirmed at the school.
Pertussis is a bacterial infection that is "often mild in older children and adults," according to the advisory sent to parents. The illness can cause "serious problems," however, among infants.
The advisory goes on to explain that young children are generally vaccinated against whooping cough as part of their regular vaccinations, but that immunity wears off over time.
"Health officials now recommend that adults and adolescents receive a Tdap booster vaccine to protect against whooping cough," according to the Centers for Disease Control. "It is especially important for those in contact with infants younger than 12 months of age."
The advisory from Weston schools explains the symptoms of whooping cough initially resemble those of a cold: a runny nose, sneezing and dry cough. The cough, however, is persistent and slowly gets worse over a couple of weeks. The illness then progresses to a stage with uncontrollable coughing spells, which are often followed by vomiting. The person rarely runs a fever and may appear healthy between these coughing spells.
Young children and infants are more likely to display these symptoms.
Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics and parents are encouraged to contact their health care providers if they notice symptoms in their children.
Weston Middle School nurse Pat Hoban can be contacted at 781-786-5620 with questions.