Whooping cough reported at 2 schools in Spartanburg Co.


A school district in Spartanburg County is warning parents about several recent cases of whooping cough.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control is not calling it an outbreak, but Spartanburg School District 5 says there are 3 cases, 2 at the elementary school Abner Creek Academy, and 1 at Beech Springs Intermediate.

Parents at both schools in Duncan got the warning this week to be on the lookout for symptoms.

When Amanda Montgomery picked up her 9-year-old from school yesterday her son had handed her a letter sent home to all parents of Abner Creek Academy.

“He told me in the car, mom you’ve got to read this there’s something about we need to be safe and protected,” said Montgomery.

The letter from DHEC warns anyone who visited the school from April 17th to May 1 may have been exposed to whooping cough.  It’s the same at Beech Springs.

“I was just shocked because I thought, you have to be vaccinated to be in schools,” said Montgomery.

Tammy Smith, The Director of Health for Spartanburg District 5 says, by law, all students must be vaccinated before kindergarten and get a booster shot called a TDAP before 7th grade.

But there are two exceptions.

“Here in our district we do have 246 that are religiously exempt and only 5 I believe that are medically exempt from immunizations. The way to prevent whooping cough is to be immunized and adults can be immunized,” said Smith.

District officials can’t say whether any of those four cases were from students who were related. But they encourage all parents to watch out for the symptoms, mainly a persistent deep cough.  

Anyone who goes untreated can spread the disease for up to 21 days from the time the coughing starts.  But antibiotics can limit that to just 5 days.

Montgomery hopes more parents will head the warning.

“My husband is a physician so he’s a big advocate of vaccinations so my children have always been vaccinated.  And I have friends that don’t they choose not to for their own personal reasons, and it makes me sacred for them,” said Montgomery.

Meanwhile the district says it cleans classrooms daily with industrial strength cleaners to try to prevent the spread of disease.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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