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Whooping Cough Reported At Elementary School

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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – A school principal in Plano is sending warning letters to parents, alerting them that someone at the school has whooping cough.

The infected person is at High Tower Elementary School, but the letter isn’t specific if the individual is a student or a staff member.

Collin County Chief Epidemiologist Peggy Wittie says the disease can be especially deadly in children under two-months-old, who haven’t been vaccinated.

“About 50-percent who have not been vaccinated that are under that age limit, they may end up in the hospital because it can be very serious,” Wittie explained. “For children who are not vaccinated they literally can die, because they’re just not protected from it and they have such small passageways it can be very dangerous for them.”

According to Wittie, there have been six whooping cough deaths in the state this year, two of them in Dallas.

Health officials also warn that just because someone has been vaccinated doesn’t mean they are immune from the disease.

Wittie is advising area parents to be on the lookout for symptoms of the cough.

“It’s where the child… you can tell where they’re really having trouble breathing. Any parent will hear that and go, ‘oh my goodness.’”

Health experts say whooping cough often can start with symptoms similar to the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and a mild cough or fever. The difference is that after a period of time, usually one or two weeks, severe coughing begins.

The disease gets its name because the continuous, rapid cough so depletes air from the lungs that the forced inhale makes a “whooping” sound.

Besides the cough, some of the symptoms of whooping cough include extreme difficulty breathing, vomiting after coughing and turning blue.

It’s important to get treated immediately if you suspect you or your child may have the disease.

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