Conway student diagnosed with whooping cough - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Conway student diagnosed with whooping cough

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LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- A case of "whooping cough," at Conway High School leads the Arkansas Health Department to require vaccinations at the school.

The "whooping cough," medically known as pertussis, is extremely contagious and can even deadly.

A release sent to some parents at CHS, said that "if your child does not receive the antibiotics by (March 17th) he/she will be excluded from attending school and school activities…"

Requirements for those who have come in "close contact," with the case include up to 14 days of antibiotics.

"The importance of controlling the spread in a community is critical," said Dr. Jennifer Dillahay with ADH.

Dr. Dillahay, the state's director of immunizations, said cases around the state continue to increase, where pertussis causes extreme coughing and is very deadly among small children.

The numbers of pertussis cases nearly doubled in 2013. In 2012, 250 cases were reported in Arkansas, while 459 people were diagnosed with pertussis.

"It takes months sometimes even a year for people to get over the effects of a pertussis case even though they are not infectious anymore," Dr. Dillahay added.

Since this bacteria is becoming more prevalent new shot requirements from the ADH will go into effect before the fall school year.

"All children who will turn 10 years of age on or before September 1 will need a booster shot, and this is a shot called TDAP that protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis," Dr. Dillahay continued.

The health department said those required to take antibiotics for the whooping cough are advised to visit their doctors for a prescription, or if they don't have a normal physician, the health department can facilitate those.