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Whooping cough case confirmed at Hightower Elementary
A confirmed case of whooping cough has been reported at Hightower Elementary.
Plano ISD sent a letter from the Collin County Health Care Services Department home with all students at the campus Thursday advising parents of the case.
The letter recommended parents to immediately contact a doctor if their children exhibit signs of pertussis, or whooping cough. Symptoms of the contagious infection include initial cold-like symptoms followed by fits of excessive coughing one to two weeks after symptoms first appear.
Lesley Range-Stanton, PISD spokeswoman, said the district has notified the health department of the case in addition to sending the letters.
"We felt it was necessary to notify people who may have come in contact with the infected person, which is what the school nurse and principal at that campus did," she said.
The name "whooping cough" comes from the characteristic sound that infected children often make when trying to catch their breath after a coughing fit. Victims may vomit after one of these fits or have difficulty catching their breath, according to a fact sheet by the Texas Department of State Health Services sent home with the letter.
Vaccinations do not make children immune to the disease, though vaccinated children often experience less severe symptoms. The disease is especially dangerous for babies as it can cause breathing failure, pneumonia and swelling of the brain. About 10 to 20 deaths are reported every year, according to the fact sheet.
The Plano Star Courier is awaiting comment from the Collin County Health Services Department and will update this story as soon as contact is made.