EAST NORTHPORT - An alarming number of whooping cough cases in Suffolk County schools have doctors, school nurses and parents on alert.

Health officials say at least eight different school districts have been infected, including Sachem, Northport-East Northport, Lindenhurst, Half Hollow Hills, East Islip, West Islip, Middle Country and Southold.

The Suffolk County Health Department says there are 205 confirmed cases in the county schools.

Doctors say whooping cough, also called Pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial disease. They say symptoms can feel like a cold, but with a strong, violent cough that makes it hard to breathe.

CDCSuffolk Health Advisory