Whooping cough has made its way into the Big Country.
Bangs ISD confirmed the first case of whooping cough in its middle school Monday.
Because whooping cough is extremely contagious, Bangs ISD is working to keep their schools free of the bacterial disease.
"I've been in education for 30 years and haven't seen a student with whooping cough until now, so hopefully it'll be another 30 years before we see it again," Bangs ISD Superintendent Bill Foster said.
One case of whooping cough was all it took for Bangs ISD to take immediate action.
"We try to clean even more anytime there's a flu or outbreak of anything. Keep your kid at home when they're sick, that's the best thing we can do for the school and other students," Foster said.
When a student was diagnosed with whooping cough Monday, Bangs ISD alerted all students.
"We've got a call notice, which everybody is registered, which is all the students get a phone call from an automated machine," Foster said.
A student diagnosed with whooping cough can come back to school after five days of being treated with an antibiotic.
The school district also alerted the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department.
"We have to report any cases that we get of diseases, whether it's the flu or whooping cough or any other vaccine-preventable disease, we have to report on that to the state," said Donna Miller with the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department.
Bangs ISD had 100 students absent Tuesday because of the flu – or about 10 percent of its student body.
Whooping cough symptoms can be similar to flu symptoms. Miller said whooping cough starts with a low-grade fever, runny nose, and a slight cough, but the cough gets worse, making it difficult to breathe. Often a "whooping" sound is heard when a person takes a breath.
A vaccine for whooping cough is available at the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department. Its phone number is 325-646-0554.