Case Of Whooping Cough Confirmed At Fayetteville High School

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KFSM) — Fayetteville High School officials have been notified by the Arkansas Department of Health that an FHS student has a confirmed case of pertussis, also known at whooping cough.

The Arkansas Department of Health requires students in the same school with a student with a confirmed case of pertussis who have vaccine exemptions for the pertussis (Tdap) vaccine or no record of the vaccination to be excluded from school for 21 days from the date of exposure.

The student's identity has not been released.

"Whooping cough is what it's known as and of course, it has an incubation period of quite a while," said Alan Wilbourn of Fayetteville Public Schools. "You can be exposed and it may be several days before you start showing symptoms, but it is highly infectious so there is a critical for that as there is for chickenpox, mumps, measles and other communicable diseases."

"Well of course we will continue to monitor and hope we won't see any more of these cases and this is just an isolated incident, but we will be ready. We know the protocol to follow should another one arise," Wilbourn said.

This is the sixth case of whooping cough in Northwest Arkansas since the beginning of the 2019/2020 school year.

The ADH says the only way to prevent pertussis or stop the spread is through vaccination even after exposure.

Whooping cough affects the respiratory tract and is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella Pertussis.

It can be treated with an antibiotic if treated soon after the onset of symptoms.

Symptoms can seem like a mild cold at first, but it's followed by severe coughing fits that can lead to vomiting or fainting.

Anyone with a severe cough should stay home from work or school and be evaluated by a doctor for possible treatment.

For more information on pertussis, please see this link from the Centers for Disease Control.

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