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Officials say 8 whooping cough cases at NC school

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BURLINGTON, NC (AP) -- Health officials say they have confirmed eight cases of whooping cough and suspect there were 23 more cases at an Alamance County elementary school.

The county health department said Wednesday more than 600 people were examined for the illness after the first case was identified last month at B. Everett Jordan Elementary School.

Officials say in the 23 probable cases, the symptoms of whooping cough were present, but lab tests had not been done to confirm the presence of the illness.

Also called pertussis, whooping cough is a bacterial infection that causes severe coughing fits. The once-common sickness was dramatically reduced by vaccinations starting in the 1940s, but has since made a comeback.

County health officials say the outbreak shows the importance of staying current on vaccinations.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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