Whooping cough outbreak at Illinois high school

Twenty-two students at the northwest suburban Cary-Grove High School in McHenry County, Ill., have been diagnosed with whooping cough, which comes more than a week after nine students contracted the illness.
Four additional cases have also been confirmed at other schools, including two at Crystal Lake School District 47's Lundahl Middle School and two at Cary District 26's Deer Path Elementary School, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“When we see an increase like this, we have to get a handle on it,” Debra Quackenbush, a McHenry County Department of Health spokeswoman, said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It spreads very easily and is beyond Cary now. It’s looking like we are getting an even bigger spread.”
All students confirmed with cases at the high school have stayed, or are staying, out of school for five days and each student is being treated with antibiotics. Officials from Crystal Lake-based District 155 and the high school are actively disinfecting high frequency contact areas at the school throughout the day and after hours.
“We have turned to the health department for guidance, and are continuing to do what we have done previously,” Jeff Puma, a District 155 spokesman, said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Early symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a common cold. After a few weeks, an infected person will have bursts of numerous, rapid coughs with a distinct "whooping" sound. Vaccinations for the infection are available, including a pertussis booster shot, which is recommended for residents around babies, the elderly and people with weak immune systems.
“The best way to avoid getting it is to be immunized,” Dr. Laura Bianconi, a pediatrician with Centegra Physician Care, said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “It is extremely important to vaccinate against this illness to stop it from spreading to people who can become seriously ill.”
The county had nine reported cases in 2010 and 51 in 2009.