Whooping Cough in Region 8

October 14, 2005 -- Posted at 3:51 p.m. CDT


JONESBORO -- A Jonesboro Junior High student is diagnosed with whooping cough.  This is one case so far this year, but health experts say this is something parents should be concerned with. “It's been a deadly disease in the past where children would cough themselves to malnutrition and brain damage,” said Doctor David Matthews.))  


Whooping cough is a lot less common now than in the past, but it is still an illness  children are very susceptible to.  Doctors say the disease is spread very easily.  Someone with whooping cough simply coughs spreading a few contaigious respritory droplets exposing an unknown number of children to the disease.


Children are vaccinated for several diseases including the whooping cough at a young age. Doctor Matthews said, “All the vaccines are ninety to ninety five percent effective and so there's always a five to ten percent no take rate on every vaccine we do.”  And now doctors are discovering those shots don’t last forever.  Children get vaccinated last for pertussis at age five, and by the sixth grade those vaccinations have usually worn off.


What signs do parents need to watch for to tell if their child has the whooping cough?  Doctors say the whooping cough is a much more harsh cough than the cold associated with the common cold.  Victims cough and cough, and then when they take a deep breath, the cough cycle starts all over again.


The student at Annie Camp Junior High is back at school now.  School nurse Tammy Hall said that parents need to keep an eye on their children and watch for unusual cough symptoms.