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FAYETTEVILLE -- Restrictions stemming from one student's diagnosis of whooping cough kept six students out of Woodland Junior High School on Monday, according to Alan Wilbourn, spokesman for the district.

An unvaccinated Woodland student was diagnosed with pertussis, or whooping cough, a contagious disease involving the respiratory tract, said Melissa Thomas, director of health services for Fayetteville Public Schools. The case was confirmed Wednesday.

All parents were notified of the diagnosis, but only the parents of 30 students who were in close contact with the diagnosed student and seven students exempt from vaccinations were sent a letter instructing them to see a doctor about antibiotics, Thomas said.

The letter informed parents if their students did not receive the antibiotic by Monday, they would be excluded from attending school and school activities until approved to return by the Arkansas Department of Health.

The exclusion period will be a minimum of 21 days. Immunization records will be reviewed to see if an additional dose of pertussis vaccine is needed, according to the letter.

Parents can apply with the department to have their children exempt from vaccinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.

Woodland Junior High School had 745 students in grades seven and eight as of last fall, according to the Arkansas Department of Education.

Coughing fits from whooping cough can make it difficult to breathe and can be life-threatening for some people, especially infants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends DTaP and Tdap vaccines to prevent whooping cough, according to the center's website.

Arkansas law requires children to receive a Tdap vaccine at age 11 unless they are exempt, Thomas said.

Metro on 04/09/2019

Print Headline: Whooping cough doses untaken; Arkansas school bars 6 students


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  • Illinoisroy
    April 9, 2019 at 12:14 p.m.

    "Parents can apply with the department to have their children exempt from vaccinations for medical, religious or philosophical reasons."

    Only acceptable exemption from vaccination should be for medical reasons.