Whooping Cough Outbreak Reported at VA Private School

An outbreak of whooping cough has prompted a private school in Floyd County to close temporarily.

Blue Mountain School director Shelly Emmett says the school has closed to limit the spread of the illness and allow those who are sick to seek treatment. Emmett says classes will resume next Monday.

Dr. Molly O'Dell, director of the New River Health District, told media outlets that five cases of whooping cough have been confirmed by lab tests and as many as 30 others were diagnosed at clinics.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a contagious disease caused by bacteria.

It gets its name from the short, intense coughing spells, followed by a gasp for air, which produces a "whoop" sound.

©2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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