A Westwood High School student has been diagnosed with pertussis, also known as "whooping cough."

The Austin Public Health Department has released pertussis information documents to the Westwood Community to advise them on what to look for in potential cases and to prevent the spread.

Whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection caused by the pertussis bacteria. Symptoms include runny or stuffed nose, sneezing, mild cough and a pause in breathing in infants. Severe symptoms include coughing very hard over and over, gasping for breath after coughing and making the "whooping" sound and coughing that makes it hard to breathe. Babies and children may also turn blue while coughing from a lack of oxygen.

Doctors are working closely with the school's administration to fight against this disease and ask that parents follow these recommendations as soon as possible to protect their child and family.

Parents should consult with their child's doctor about their pertussis exposure and observe for any signs of pertussis symptoms. If signs and symptoms are developed, parents are advised to contact their doctor immediately to be evaluated and treated.

The Austin Public Health Department also asks that parents check their child's immunization records. If a child has not received immunization, parents should follow up with their doctor.

For any questions regarding please call the Austin Public Health Department office at (512) 972-5555.