New immunization requirements in South Carolina will now make it mandatory for parents to prove that their children have received a vaccine for Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
School officials in Beaufort County said they're happy with the new requirements.
"Children can become very sick with whooping cough. It can be potentially fatal, and we don't want to see that happening in our communities," said Adea Humphries, Beaufort Middle School nurse.
Whooping cough cases have spiked across the country, although they've declined in South Carolina recently. According to DHEC, there were about 200 cases last year. In 2010, there were more than 400 cases reported.
Even though the numbers have gone down, Humphries says the required vaccination is still important.
"We want to be proactive and work with DHEC to make sure that parents are giving their children the vaccinations," she said.
Humpries says Beaufort Middle School hasn't had an outbreak of whooping cough.
The symptoms of whooping cough are persistent coughing and a fever.
DHEC said you should see a doctor if you start vomiting, turn red or blue, or inhale with a whooping sound.
"But it's so easy to miss especially during this time of year, because it's like a common cold, so vaccination is very important," said Humphries.
The new requirement starts in August. All incoming seventh graders will have to show proof that they've been vaccinated.
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