Confirmed cases of whooping cough at Upstate schools

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Health officials are warning parents that their children may have been exposed to whooping cough at two schools in Spartanburg County.

Abner Creek Academy and Beech Springs Intermediate students were sent home with letters on Monday saying there have been confirmed cases of the contagious disease.

Both schools are in Spartanburg School District 5.

Melissa Robinette, a spokesperson for the district, said there are a total of four cases between the two schools. 

She said before children enter kindergarten in South Carolina, the state requires they have the Tdap vaccine that protects against whooping cough. But the state does allow religious exemptions for students.

She said the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) sent the letters to families.

According to the letters, anyone who attended or visited the schools between April 17 and May 1 might have been exposed.

People with whopping cough may have coughing fits and might get sick to their stomach after coughing. A severe cough may last for weeks or even months.

Anyone exposed — who either has a cough now or starts coughing in the next three weeks — should stay home from work, school, sports activities, playgroups and church until antibiotics have been taken for at least five days, according to the letter.

The exposed person should then be seen by a doctor as soon as possible, according to the release.

DHEC recommends that women who are pregnant, infants younger than 12 months old, anyone with a weakened immune system, a severe lung disease, or anyone who may live with someone with any of those criteria immediately call their health care provider immediately.

To prevent whooping cough, there is a childhood vaccine called DTaP and a whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. 

For more information, call the Upstate Region Public Health Epidemiology Office at 864-372-3134.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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