Whooping cough case at Texas Capitol leads to vaccinations

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Health officials say nearly 50 people in the Texas Capitol have received vaccinations after a legislative page contracted whooping cough.

The health scare comes as legislatures around the country grapple with the extents to which parents should be allowed to not vaccinate their children. Some Texas lawmakers are holding up the whooping cough case as a warning against proposals that would loosen vaccination requirements.

Measles outbreaks in New York, Washington and elsewhere have some states now considering ending non-medical exemptions.

In Texas, the number of schoolchildren claiming exemptions has surged from about 2,300 students in 2003 to more than 56,000.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that often starts with what feels like a mild cold, followed by weeks of intense coughing fits.

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