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Whooping Cough Uncovered At Bentonville School

BENTONVILLE, AR. --- An Old High Middle School student was diagnosed with Pertussis this week. The disease is also known as Whooping Cough. The illness is a contagious, respiratory illness.
BENTONVILLE, AR. --- Pertussis, also known as Whooping Cough, can be a deadly disease.

 Only one case has been found at Old High Middle School in Bentonville, but Principal Jeff Wasem and The Arkansas Department of Health are working together to fight the illness.

"We will have conversations with our teachers about making sure that we are disinfecting areas in their classroom not just at the end of the day, but also throughout the day," said Wasem.

Old High Principal Jeff Wasem said his school is working to prevent the spread of Pertussis.

"It brought a heightened awareness to making sure that we are just looking at every corner, making sure that we are as thorough as we can be," said Wasem.

The school and the State Department of Health sent out letters to families to let them know about the case of whooping cough. However, letters were only sent to certain students.

Dr. Dirk Haselow with the Arkansas Department of Health said the disease is only spread through close contact.

"Pertussis is spread by sneezing or coughing. The bacteria gets into tiny little water droplets that you cough out," said Haselow. "It can float in the air for a while and infect people within about six feet. If you are outside of six feet from someone coughing, you are not at risk of pertussis."

'We are monitoring the situation and if other cases develop we will learn of them early and potentially re-visit that strategy," said Haselow.

Principal Wasem hopes to keep his school protected from this case of pertussis, however he can.

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