The Vail School District has confirmed four cases of whooping cough since the beginning of September, officials said.
The cases were reported at Sycamore and Senita Valley elementary schools, and Civano Community School, said John Carruth, assistant superintendent of special projects.
The first case was reported in early September, and another case was confirmed about a week before the district’s fall break, which began Sept. 23.
Two more cases were reported earlier this week, Carruth said.
Vail sent letters home to parents of students at the three schools and posted a message on the district’s Facebook page, he said.
The district also notified the neighborhood associations near Civano and Senita Valley.
District officials have sought guidance from the Pima County Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our stance is, we are not the medical professionals, so we follow the lead of what the medical professionals would do,” he said.
There have been 63 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, in Pima County this year, said Michael Acoba, epidemiology program manager for the Pima County Health Department.
The number is higher than average, reflecting state and national trends, Acoba said.
The disease is spread through the air when an infected person coughs, resulting in intense coughing and, in some cases, difficulty breathing, he said.
“Another infected person is the only source,” he said.
Parents should make sure their children are vaccinated and should get themselves vaccinated, especially if they have infants or newborns, he said.
“The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to make sure they’re vaccinated,” he said.