By CBS3 Staff

MACUNGIE, Pa. (CBS) – Cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported in the East Penn School District. In a letter sent to parents on Thursday, school officials confirmed that students in four schools have been diagnosed with whooping cough.

The students attend Emmaus High School, Lower Macungie Middle School and Shoemaker and Wescosville Elementary schools.

The letter states a student was diagnosed with pertussis and is under the care of a physician.

The Pennsylvania Health Department recommends parents contact a doctor if their child is coughing frequently or experiencing coughing fits. Parents may also choose to contact their child’s doctor and explain that he or she may have been exposed to a case of pertussis.

The best way to control the future spread of pertussis is to make sure that all persons are adequately immunized.

According to the CDC, pertussis is an “acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.” Symptoms usually develop within five to 10 days after exposure, but sometimes not for as long as three weeks. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade fever, and multiple rapid coughs.

Pertussis can cause serious and potentially life-threatening complications in infants and young children who have not received all the recommended vaccines.

For more information on pertussis, click here.