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15 cases of whooping cough identified in Brookline, town says

The outside of Brookline High School in May 2024. Photo by Artemisia Luk
June 28, 2024  Updated July 2, 2024 at 8:03 p.m.
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There have been 15 cases of whooping cough, also known as Pertussis, identified in Brookline over the last few weeks, according to town officials.

Despite those cases, the risk of contracting whooping cough in Brookline remains “extremely low,” according to the town’s public health and human services director Sigalle Reiss.

Reiss announced the news in a press release on Thursday, three weeks after a case of whooping cough was first confirmed at Brookline High School on June 5. A second case was subsequently found at the Runkle School, according to Reiss. Families at those schools were notified shortly after those cases were identified, Reiss said.

Vaccination is the best form of protection against whooping cough, according to Reiss. The whooping cough vaccine is required statewide for children entering seventh grade, and 99% of BHS seniors have had the vaccine.

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“At this time, we feel that the public health risk is low, however with the school year ending, we feel it is important to update the community about the situation and steps our residents can take to avoid exposure to Pertussis and other illnesses,” Reiss said in a statement.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that takes place in three phases. It begins similarly to a cold and can progress into uncontrollable coughing spells that can impede breathing. Symptoms appear seven to 10 days after exposure. It can generally be treated by antibiotics. If you have been exposed to whooping cough and develop symptoms, contact your doctor.

The town will continue to monitor cases and contacts, Reiss wrote. For additional questions, residents can contact the Brookline public health nurse at 617-730-2320.

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