The Beverly public schools have confirmed that cases of pertussis or whooping cough have been identified at Briscoe Middle School and Beverly High School. According to the school system, pertussis is a disease caused by bacteria that spreads from person to person through close contact. Symptoms include a mild to severe cough, runny nose, and sneezing. For more information, contact Kim Pappas, the Beverly High School nurse, at 978-921-6132, ext. 11126; Theresa Kirsch, Beverly Board of Health, at 978-921-8591; or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 617-983-6800.