CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - Two metro Atlanta children have tested positive for the highly contagious disease whooping cough.
The students go to Free Home Elementary and Creekland Middle schools in Cherokee County.
School officials confirmed to Channel 2’s Lori Wilson that the children are siblings. The district also sent home letters to parents about the symptoms to look our for in the next several days.
“It is fairly contagious. It is passed on by air droplets,” said Dr. Nonna Livits, with North Georgia Medical Associates.
Livits said she hasn't had any cases in her office but was not surprised cases of the whooping cough have been diagnosed in the area.
“The initial symptoms are like runny nose and aches,” Livits told Wilson.
The Cherokee County School Board sent out a letter to parents this week that said, in part:
“Your student may have been exposed to a student at Free Home Elementary School who has been diagnosed with whooping cough, also known as pertussis."
Students at Creekland Middle School also got the notes, which go on to say that whooping cough is highly contagious and that parents should monitor their students until Feb. 14, looking for signs of exposure.
The early signs are cold-like symptoms and a distinctive cough.
“It's like a coughing spell, followed by a gasp of air,” Livits said.
Doctors say there are other signs to monitor too.
“Children can gag, have trouble breathing. Some of them throw up because of the cough. It irritates them,” Livits said.
Livits told Wilson that whooping cough is so contagious because it can be spread simply through coughing and sneezing.
Anyone can get it, but it is especially dangerous for babies and anyone with a weakened immune system.
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