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Concerns Remain After First-Grader In Fayette County Diagnosed With Whooping Cough

PERRYOPOLIS, Pa. (KDKA) -- A local elementary school is trying to stop an outbreak of whooping cough after a student was diagnosed with the potentially deadly disease.

Parents in Perryopolis with children in the Frazier School District are being warned about the possible outbreak.

The district announced on Friday a first-grader was diagnosed with whooping cough, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

"I was concerned," one parent said. "I have children that go the school. I'm upset with it."

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Doctor Matthew Poremba works in the emergency room at Allegheny General.

He said the symptoms start as a cold.

"After two weeks, we start seeing a pretty significant cough," Dr. Poremba said. "You get what's called peroxisomes. So they come out of nowhere and they're pretty significant, causing what's called a whoop."

Under state law, children must be vaccinated for whooping cough before they start school.

"But with this type of infection, we do see decreased risks of it because people are vaccinated at age 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 6 years," Dr. Poremba said. "We all receive vaccinations secondary to this."

It is not known if the child who has whooping cough was vaccinated, but parents admit there are some in the community who are against vaccinating their children.

"People don't get their kids vaccinated ... that's up to the parents, but it's concerning to the community," a parent said.

"I think parents should be getting their children vaccinated, even though it's a religious thing on other people's part," said Christy Little. "But you got to learn there are other children that can get this whooping cough thing."

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