Conway student diagnosed with whooping cough

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -- A case of "whooping cough," at Conway High Schoolleads 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 someparents at CHS, said that "if your child does not receive the antibiotics by (March17th) he/she will be excluded from attending school and school activities"

Requirements for thosewho have come in "close contact," with the case include up to 14 days ofantibiotics.

"The importance ofcontrolling the spread in a community is critical," said Dr. Jennifer Dillahaywith ADH.

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

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

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

Since this bacteria isbecoming more prevalent new shot requirements from the ADH will go into effectbefore the fall school year.

"All children whowill 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 andpertussis," Dr. Dillahay continued.

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