SUMMIT — Two students at different schools in a district were diagnosed with whooping cough.

In a letter to parents this week, schools Superintendent June Chang said the highly contagious disease, also known as pertussis, was confirmed in students at Summit High School and the Washington School.

The letter did not disclose when the diagnosis were made or if the students are related.

The disease primarily afflicts young children who have not yet had their full set of vaccinations or young adults whose immunities have faded, according to the state Department of Health.  Vaccine protection fades with time for pertussis. A booster known as Tdap is recommended for preteens, teens and adults. It can replace one of the tetanus shots an individual is told to receive every 10 years.

The DOH reported more than 150 cases of whooping cough in the state in 2018.

The disease gets its name from the high-pitched "whoop" made by the affected person trying to take a breath between violent coughs.

The initial symptoms are similar to the common cold and include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and fever but become worse. Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics.

According to Chang, the district is monitoring the situation and will take additional action if the disease spreads further.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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