Students, teachers, and staff at Austin High School may have been exposed to pertussis or whooping cough.

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that is spread through the air by coughing.
Symptoms begin with cold-like symptoms and a cough which becomes much worse over one to two
weeks. There might be long series of coughing fits followed by a characteristic whooping noise, which is where the illness got its name. A patient may also have vomiting, turning blue, or difficulty in catching their breath. There is usually no fever associated with whooping cough, but the coughing is often worse at night and cough medications usually do not help control the cough.

The City of El Paso Department of Public Health and officials at Austin High School are working on notifying those who may have been exposed.

Letters are being sent home to parents, and health officials say that they need to review the letters very carefully and contact their primary care provider to let the doctor know that they may have been exposed. Whoever is exposed needs to find out from their doctor if they are up-to-date with their vaccines.

Anyone diagnosed should avoid public activities like school, sporting events, etc., until they complete a 5 day course of antibiotics. You can find more information about this possible exposure by calling 2-1-1 or going to EPHealth.com.