Parents of students at Nettie Baccus Elementary School are receiving notification about a second case of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, at the school. Principal Leslie Tewell distributed the letter from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) to make parents aware of the situation. An earlier case in mid-September led school officials to send a similar letter to parents. However, the most current case is unrelated. According to TDSHS, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that can spread through the air when people cough. It is very contagious. If not treated, whooping cough can spread easily to others. It usually starts like a common cold but worsens over 1-2 weeks as a cough develops. People with whooping cough may have coughing spells in which they can’t catch their breath between coughs. As they catch their breath at the end of a coughing spell, they may loudly gasp (“whoop”) and vomit or feel like they’re choking. Young babies with whooping cough may not have a cough. Instead they may have trouble breathing and gag, gasp, turn blue, or vomit. There is usually no fever with whooping cough. Older children, teenagers and adults who were completely immunized before they started kindergarten can get whooping cough because protection from the vaccine wears off over time. This is why a booster dose of vaccine, called Tdap, is recommended for those 11-18 years of age and for adults. Check with your healthcare provider to be sure you and your children are up to date with vaccine.