SMITHTOWN - ? Suffolk County health officials arereporting an outbreak of whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Thirteen students in three schools in Smithtown have beenconfirmed with the contagious bacterial infection.

Health officials said Tuesday they had alertedarea pediatricians and had given advice to school officials on howto control the outbreak.

Pertussis causes an uncontrollable, violent cough lastingseveral weeks or even months. It may begin with cold-like symptomsor a dry cough that progresses to episodes of severe coughing. It isspread from person to person.

Officials say all of the Smithtown students had been immunized,helping to reduce the severity of their illness.AP wire services contributed to this report