☑️ A letter was sent to parents about a whooping cough diagnosis Thursday

☑️ It is most harmful to babies under the age of one

☑️ Students from 6 communities attend High Point Regional

SUSSEX — High Point Regional High School informed parents in a letter that “a member of our community” has been diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough.

It’s not clear if “community” refers to the school population or the towns of Wantage, Sussex Borough, Branchville, Frankford, Lafayette and Montague served by the school.

Superintendent Scott Ripley and the Sussex County Health Department on Friday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for clarification.

What is whooping cough?

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease whose symptoms include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and fever, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.  Within two weeks of exposure the cough becomes more serious with uncontollable coughing spasms followed by a high pitched “whoop” sound when the person tries to take a breath.

It can occur in all ages but is most severe in children less under 1.

Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics as it is caused by a bacterium found in the mouth, nose and throat.

Vaccination decline to blame?

Whooping cough is a required vaccination for New Jersey school children by the time they reach sixth grade. However, vaccination rates for fell during the pandemic.

For the 2022-2023 school year, 92.8% of children in New Jersey had met all immunization requirements for school attendance. The gap is filled by those with medical and religious exemptions, and families that would not comply with the state's rules.

High Point Regional High School has an enrollment of 817 as of the 2022-23 school year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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