The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least two cases of pertussis – also known as whooping cough – at Freeport High School.

The state notified parents and guardians on Monday that their children may have been exposed to the highly contagious airborne disease, which is easily spread by coughing or sneezing.

Pertussis usually begins with symptoms of a common cold such as sore throat, runny nose and mild cough, but often develops into a severe cough that can lead to coughing fits or vomiting. The cough worsens during the evening hours.

According to the Maine CDC, it can take up to three weeks after exposure for a person to become sick. Anyone can get pertussis, including people who have had pertussis vaccine. Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes deadly complications for babies.

If someone has been diagnosed with pertussis, they should be kept home from school and not participate in sports groups until they have completed five days of antibiotic treatment. Children should be encouraged to practice good hygiene, which can include covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing hands often.


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