CDC monitoring whooping cough outbreak in Staunton, Illinois

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STAUNTON, IL (KTVI) - The CDC is monitoring a disease outbreak in Staunton, Illinois. Cases of whooping cough appear to be spreading quickly. At last report there were 24 confirmed cases of the illness in public and private schools in Staunton. The disease got its name from the sound babies make when they have pertussis or whooping cough.

Classrooms are getting a deep cleaning. Staunton School Superintendent Rich Stempinski said, "They are special chemicals it's an aero spray we put out at night goes off for a couple hours and then we aerate the room after that."

The disease is highly contagious and can be fatal particularly to babies. Kids are being repeatedly told to wash their hands. Teacher and parent B.J. Ogata said, "It's never a bad idea especially this time of year to go over proper procedures." Carter Marks, a 4th grader said, "It cleans the germs off your hands, since it cleans the germs you won't get sick."

The superintendent sent home another letter about the illness to parents this week. Even though almost every child in the school has been vaccinated for whooping cough they can still get it, the vaccine is not as potent as others. Shawn Hupp is a grandmother with youngsters in the schools, "It frightens me kids come to school that are infected or have something and the other kids can catch."

Health officials said some people in the community are on edge after a toddler recently died here. They want everyone to know the child's death had nothing to do with whooping cough.
If a student tests positive the youngster is given antibiotics and out of class for five days.