MISSOULA – The number of whooping cough cases continues to climb in Missoula County.
Missoula City-County Health Department Director Ellen Leahy says as of Thursday there are now 32 confirmed cases of pertussis.
The Frenchtown School District reports a student has tested positive for the disease and that they are working with the health department to notify close contacts of students.
If students start to develop symptoms, parents should contact a doctor and alert them that they may have been exposed to pertussis.
Cases have also been confirmed in several Missoula County public schools, the Lolo School District and the Florence Carlton School District.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a type of bacteria. It can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.
Pertussis symptoms can appear differently and be less severe in vaccinated individuals, but can still be contagious.