Cortland County Health Department identifies two cases of whooping cough at Homer High School

The Cortland County Office Building at 60 Central Ave, Cortland, N.Y. (Source:

The Homer Central School District has been notified by the Cortland County Health Department that two confirmed cases of pertussis, also known as “whooping cough,” have been identified at Homer Senior High School.

Homer High School Principal Douglas A. Van Etten sent an email to parents and guardians of students Wednesday afternoon notifying them of the confirmed cases, the school district confirmed Thursday morning.

Pertussis is a contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory tract that is spread through the air by coughing or sneezing. It begins with cold symptoms and a cough that gradually worsen over the course of one to two weeks.

The county health department is not recommending preventive antibiotics at this time.

Symptoms usually include a long series of coughs followed by a “whooping” noise. The severe cough can last for weeks or months and can sometimes lead to coughing fits and/or vomiting. The cough is often worse at night and cough medicines usually do not help alleviate the cough.

While anyone can get pertussis, it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems.

If your child has a cough, the county health department recommends calling your child’s doctor and letting them know that your child may have been exposed to pertussis. If your child has pertussis, they will be asked to stay home and may be put on an antibiotic for five days.

Parents can contact the health department at 607-753-5028 for further information.