Students at local high school get sick with whooping cough despite vaccinations, administrators say

SEATTLE -- An area high school is reporting several students have been sickened with whooping cough since mid-October, despite being vaccinated against the highly contagious bacterial disease.

Roosevelt High School administrators sent a letter to students' families recently warning them that some students had been diagnosed and treated for Pertussis -- more commonly known as whooping cough -- since mid-October.

Several of the students were fully vaccinated, but still go sick, the school said.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious, bacterial infection of the nose and throat. It is an upper-respiratory infection that is characterized by coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and occasional vomiting that later progresses into a loud, exhausting cough.

"I know someone who had it," one student told Q13 FOX News This Morning. "It wasn't just a cough."

Whooping cough is spread easily in crowded settings, and school officials encouraged all students to get a vaccine booster shot known as the Tdap Booster to better protect against the infection.

According to the most recent health department numbers, cases of whooping cough in the state are actually down over last year. This year, 396 cases of whooping cough have been reported, compared to 644 over the same time last year. King County has 73 reported cases.

Tdap Booster shots are being dispersed at the Roosevelt Teen Health Center.

School administrators also encouraged vigorous and frequent hand washing to help protect against whooping cough.