Southold School District student diagnosed with whooping cough

A student from the Southold School District has been diagnosed with a case of pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, school officials confirmed Friday.

A school official said the district found out a student had whooping cough Thursday morning and sent letters home to parents urging them to take their child to a doctor if they are experiencing symptoms. Southold Superintendent David Gamberg was not available for comment Friday morning.

Pertussis is spread through the air by cough. The disease is particularly dangerous, even fatal, to infants not yet fully immunized.

Whooping cough, which gets its name from the sound made after long coughing sessions victims suffer from, is not always instantly detected. It may take a patient as much as three weeks to begin showing symptoms.

More than 180 cases of whooping cough have been detected in Suffolk County this year, according to the Department of Health.