More than 80 whooping cough cases in Alamance Co.

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Twelve schools in the Alamance Burlington School System have cases of whooping cough that health officials are calling either confirmed or probable.

Dr. Kathleen Shapley-Quinn, medical director of the Alamance County Health Department, said they are looking at 82 pertussis cases in six elementary schools, six middle schools and two private child care centers.

The affected elementary schools are B. Everett Jordan, Audrey W. Garrett, Haw River, South Graham, Alexander Wilson and Eastlawn.

The affected middle schools are Western Alamance, Graham, Broadview, Turrentine, Hawfields and Woodlawn.

Quinn would not identify the two private child care centers. A news release on Thursday did not say exactly how many cases were confirmed or considered probable.

The first confirmed case was reported Dec. 21 at B. Everett Jordan Elementary. Shapley-Quinn said they are still trying to figure out where the outbreak started.

The health department is now offering free Tdap vaccines, which normally cost $35. The department is open from 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are allowing walk-ins.

Quinn said they will probably offer the free vaccines for the next month.

A community-wide clinic will also take place at the Mebane Arts and Community Center on March 2 from 3-7 p.m.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection that often starts with typical cold symptoms before turning into prolonged bursts of coughing, which sounds like whooping, in one or two weeks. Some may simply have a cough that lasts for several weeks.

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