A confirmed case of whooping cough has been reported at Northport High School, bringing to 45 the number of cases so far this year in Suffolk County, a county health department spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The community was notified about the case of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, through a letter dated Monday from the Division of Public Health posted on the Northport-East Northport Schools website.

"Please be advised that we have had a case of pertussis at Northport High School," the letter states, warning that pertussis is a "highly contagious" bacterial respiratory illness spread through the air by coughing.

Requests to school Superintendent Marylou McDermott for information on the student's status were not immediately answered.

Other Suffolk districts with cases so far this fall include North Babylon, Bay Shore, Harborfields, Sag Harbor and Riverhead, said county Health Department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern.

Last year there was a total of 515 confirmed cases in Suffolk, she said.

Most whooping cough cases involve schoolchildren, but adults are also susceptible, she said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that vaccination is the best defense.

In Nassau County, 26 cases of whooping cough have been reported so far this year, a health department spokeswoman said. Nassau had 144 cases in 2012.

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