Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV )
Alarming increases in whooping cough cases have public health officials urging parents and children to get vaccinated before school starts and the risk increases.
During January through July of this year, 241 cases of whooping cough have been reported.
This is almost twice as many as the 122 cases reported this time last year.
The Magic Valley Boys and Girls Club know the risk all too well after a club member came down with Pertussis.
Director of Operations at the Boys and Girls Club Stephanie Hudson explains, "I spoke with her parents, she had gone here in the past couple of weeks and we just contacted the health department, got a recommendation.”
Places with large numbers of campers or students are of particular concern to health officials.
Public Information Officer with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Niki Forbing-Orr notes, “"The rates are highest among children 5–17 and typically when the older kids get it it's an annoyance. The concern is they will bring the disease home to young siblings like babies and babies are at a much higher risk of complications than others."
About 1 in 20 infants with Pertussis gets pneumonia.
The best prevention is getting a vaccination.
Forbing-Orr continues, "parents can make sure their kids are up to date on their immunizations. The vaccines tend to wear off as the kids get older."
Hudson adds, "err on the side of caution. Contact local physicians and health departments before it can get worse. We ask parents to be proactive."
Taking steps towards prevention.
In Public Health District 5, which includes Twin Falls, Blaine, and Cassia counties, 45 cases have been reported through January 31st.