Whooping cough outbreak in Barrington

Eight children in Barrington have come down with Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough. The Rhode Island Department of Health learned of an infected student on December 22nd. Since then it's discovered additional cases at Hampden Meadows Elementary School and Barrington Middle School. Spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth says outbreaks like these are happening across the country.

"For upper elementary schools, fourth, fifth, sixth grade, we do expect to see some cases of Pertussis, because that's when the child's immunity begins to wane from their original vaccination," she says.

Rhode Island Students can't enter seventh grade until they've received a Pertussis booster shot.

Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence had a case of Pertussis in November. Beardsworth says there's no evidence so far that the outbreaks were connected.

Pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs that causes intense and uncontrollable coughing. In infants it can cause permanent disability or even death.

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