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Whooping Cough in Local Schools

Officials are notifying parents about a case of whooping cough in Columbia schools.A Hickman High student was just diagnosed with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.Administrators said on Thursday they are sending letters to parents of students who were in close contact with the sick teen. Doctors say anyone who was vaccinated within the last five years is in the clear.Typically whooping cough is not dangerous for teenagers or adults, however it can be deadly for the very young and the very old.Boone County has already diagnosed 12 cases this year. In 2011, there were only two. But a year before that, there were 15 cases in the county, and 40 in 2009.Experts say whooping cough appears in cycles. Anybody with a series of coughs that get worse over a few weeks, followed by vomiting or difficultly breathing should see a doctor.Whooping cough is highly contagious and spread by coughing. People who are infected can see symptoms anywhere from six to 21 days after first exposure to the disease.

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