In less than one month, four students at Monterey Park School have been diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough.

Principal Brian Hayes and school officials met with parents to offer information and answer questions.

"There really hasn't been a feeling of fear. It's been more of 'what can we do to stop this?'" he said.

"This is serious for parents that have younger children. This is a huge concern," said one parent who wished to remain anonymous.

The first case was diagnosed on Feb. 25. Three more students from the same fifth grade class also came down with the disease.

"If there are students who are sick, we're taking temperatures, we're notifying parents. If they need to go to a physician, we're doing that," Director of Pupil Personnel Services Beatriz Chaidez said.

"Libraries, computer labs, the cafeteria, all those areas are getting extra cleaning attention at night," Hayes said.

The school has also been sending letters to parents with guidance from the Monterey County Health Department on what to look for and how to treat the problem.

Pediatrician Michele Tamse said it can be scary during cold and flu season because at first it's hard to tell the difference between pertussis and the common cold.

"It can be as simple as the common cold initially, but if we start seeing any signs of vomiting or seizures and blueness to the face, then we have to keep that in mind," Tamse said.

She said the simplest way to combat pertussis is to get vaccinated.

School officials said of the 524 students at Monterey Park, 99.5 percent are vaccinated, including the four students who have been diagnosed.

All four have completed their five-day anti-biotic treatment at home and are back at school.