Wichita Northwest High student contracts whooping cough

A student at Wichita Northwest High School has contracted pertussis, or whooping cough, USD 259 spokeswoman Susan Arensman confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Principal Gil Alvarez sent an e-mail to parents of Northwest students Tuesday afternoon, encouraging up-to-date vaccinations. The student is undergoing medical care and is expected to make a full recovery, according to the e-mail.

Pertussis is a contagious disease with symptoms resembling those of the common cold. People who contract the disease start to develop violent coughing spasms, which may make breathing difficult. The disease is preventable by vaccine, according to a fact sheet from the Sedgwick County Health Department.

Arensman said the Northwest case is the only one yet confirmed by the district. Symptoms of whooping cough can develop seven to 10 days or even up to six weeks after exposure, according to the Sedgwick County fact sheet.

If parents notice symptoms of pertussis, the district advises consulting a family physician or calling the Sedgwick County Health Department at 316-660-7300.

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-268-6660 or Follow him on Twitter: @riedlmatt.