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Whooping cough outbreak impacts Chapel Hill schools

January 22, 2018 GMT

Orange County health officials on Monday were investigating an outbreak of whooping cough in Chapel Hill.

Public Health Services Manager Iulia Vann said there have been several cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, reported throughout the community, including at East Chapel Hill High School and Chapel Hill High School. The patients range in age from 11 to 54, Vann said.

Health officials did not provide specific numbers for how many patients have been diagnosed, but said cases currently meet outbreak criteria because more than three have been reported.

The CDC says that, if left untreated, the disease can include fits of rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched whooping sound, vomiting and exhaustion. Treatment includes antibiotics and can require a trip to the hospital if it has advanced far enough without medication, the CDC says.

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Health officials say whooping cough is spread by coughs or sneezes and is easily transmitted among those who share close quarters with someone who has the illness

As of Jan. 8, three cases of whooping cough had also been reported at Apex High School.

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