Local health officials are warning the public that a contagious disease is currently spreading throughout the Hudson Valley.

The Monroe Woodbury school district was notified by the Orange County Department of Health that a few students from Monroe-Woodbury High School were diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough, along with a number of other people throughout the county.

The infected people are being treated, health officials say.

According to the Orange County Department of Health, whooping cough begins as a mild respiratory infection. Symptoms resemble those of a common cold. However, within two weeks the cough becomes more severe and is characterized by episodes of numerous rapid coughs, followed by a high-pitched cough.

If you or your child has any of these symptoms, it’s recommended you visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Washing hands and covering your mouth while coughing helps reduce the spread of whooping cough.

Whooping cough can occur at any age, however if you have been immunized your risk of infection is low, officials say.

Here are this week's Top 5 news stories from the Hudson Valley

More From Hudson Valley Post