HAMILTON, Ohio -- Four cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, have hit Butler County, health officials said Wednesday.
The City of Hamilton Health Department confirmed three cases of the highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, while the Butler County Health Department reported one case since the beginning of August.
Two cases of the disease were confirmed at Garfield Middle School and another case was reported at Hamilton Freshman School.
Officials said parents of students at the schools were notified after the disease was confirmed.
Whooping cough starts like a cold. After one to two weeks in the respiratory system, the symptoms will give way to severe coughing bouts, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say.
Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing until the air is gone from the lungs and one is forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" noise.
The CDC recommends vaccines to prevent and treat the disease.
The vaccine is DTaP, which protects against three diseases: diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus. In adults, it is recommended to get the DTaP vaccine instead of their next regular tetanus booster due once every 10 years.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.