Up to 90 people may have been exposed after a case of whooping cough was confirmed at a Lenoir County elementary school.
A temporary clinic has been set up at the Pink Hill Community Center for those exposed to receive the needed treatment. So far seven adults and 26 children have been treated.
Health Director Joey Huff says a physician confirmed the case of a student at Pink Hill Elementary School earlier this week. He says the health department worked with school officials to identify other children who may have been exposed.
Whooping cough is a very serious disease, especially for young children and infants less than one year old. The disease is highly contagious and can be easily spread through talking, sneezing or coughing.
Symptoms start out with a runny nose, sneezing, mild fever and a cough that slowly gets worse. The next stage has uncontrolled coughing spells or fits, especially at night, and a high-pitched "whoop" sound when the person inhales.
State law requires all children to receive five does of the pertussis vaccine before going to school, unless they receive a religious exemption. Huff says they're doing post-exposure treatment because sometimes the vaccines aren't 100% effective and in some case people may never have been vaccinated.
Huff says the boy had been vaccinated, but he's not sure if the child had completed all five doses or not.