The following is a press release from Missoula County Public Schools:

The Missoula City-County Health Department has notified Sentinel High School administrators that a student enrolled at the school has been confirmed as having pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough. The health department confirmed the case on May 2. The school was in the process of contacting all parent households via a phone message late Thursday to share this information.

The Sentinel student has received treatment and is no longer contagious. The health department is working with Sentinel High School nurses as well as the student?s family members to identify close contacts of the student. As a precaution, Sentinel school officials are encouraging parents to monitor the health of their student(s), particularly if their student(s) did not receive immunizations as a child.

Any students experiencing symptoms of persistent cough and/or fever may want to consult a health care provider. The school will be monitoring student attendance and staying in close communication with the health department. At this time, both the school district and health department are encouraging parents to keep their students in school.

School officials are hoping this case of pertussis is isolated. Officials are not releasing the name of the student to protect patient privacy. The percentage of students in Missoula County who have not been immunized is roughly 2-4 percent, according to the health department. This is much lower than the rate of about 10 percent in Ravalli County, which recently experienced a pertussis outbreak.

Parents who have questions about pertussis or recommended immunizations should directly contact their primary care physician or the Missoula Health Department. Parents may want to review their child?s immunization records to ensure the child?s immunizations are fully up to date.

For more information, please contact Lesli Brassfield, director of public affairs, at 728-2400, ext. 1024.