The Anderson County superintendent's office said that a Lawrenceburg elementary school had an outbreak of pertussis Thursday.
Anderson County Health Department officials said five confirmed cases of the disease came from Emma B. Ward Elementary School, and all from a fifth grade class.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pertussis--otherwise known as "whooping cough"--is a highly contagious respiratory disease often known for uncontrollable, violent coughing.
School and health officials said they are taking action to prevent further spread of whooping cough by holding a clinic for fifth graders at the elementary school.
"We have to be proactive and get on top of it," said Anderson County Health Department Interim Director Timothy Wright.
County health officials suggested to local doctors that they give any kids that may have come in contact with pertussis a dose of antibiotics.
Some parents took it to heart.
"The letter we received home said antibiotics, so he's on another round of antibiotics," said mother Gail Hoskins of her son, who's in first grade at Emma B. Ward.
Health officials said parents don't need to be scared--an outbreak means two or more confirmed cases--but that they should
take the disease seriously.
"It's very contagious," said Wright, "the incubation period is six to 21 days." The interim director then added, "If you don't take it serious, it could get outta hand."
The immunization clinic will be held at Emma B. Ward Elementary School from 4-5:30 p.m.
Health officials said people can also get vaccinated at their county health department.
For more information on pertussis (symptoms, treatment, etc.), visit the CDC website here.