Whooping cough outbreak closes Texas school despite 100-percent vaccination rate: officials

An outbreak of the highly contagious whooping cough has forced one school in Houston, Tex., to close its doors early for the holiday break.

St. Theresa Catholic School in Memorial Park will be closed until Jan. 6 due to the outbreak, which has affected students and staff alike. Some children have been hospitalized as a result, the Houston Chronicle reports.

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The first case was confirmed on Dec. 4. The community and the Texas Department of State Health Services were subsequently notified. It’s not clear how many people are affected.

It's not clear how many people are sickened as a result of the outbreak.

It's not clear how many people are sickened as a result of the outbreak. (iStock)

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a very contagious disease that spreads through coughing or sneezing. It can take up to three weeks for symptoms to appear. Late-stage symptoms may include rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound, vomiting and exhaustion.

Officials with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston said that 100 percent of students who attend St. Theresa Catholic School are vaccinated against the illness. That said, those who have received the whooping cough vaccine can sometimes still contract the disease if they are exposed. If this occurs, the symptoms are typically milder, however.

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"It is my prayer that we have no more children hospitalized due to the spread of this disease," Rev. Phil Lloyd, pastor at St. Theresa Catholic School, said in a letter sent to parents, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Fox News' Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.