Idaho seeing twice as much whooping cough this year

Twice the average numbers of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, have been reported so far this year in Idaho.

The Panhandle Health District says there is no specific reason behind the spike in pertussis cases, which have reached a total of 77, the Northwest News Network reports.

Cynthia Taggart, a Panhandle Health District representative, told the Northwest News Network that the disease simply moves cyclically. Taggart says that the best way to keep the infection from becoming uncontrollable is continued immunization.

As infants, most children receive a vaccine series, but as they age, they become more vulnerable to outbreaks. Taggart also encourages a pertussis booster for adults who work closely with children because they, too, can become more vulnerable.

“Kids 11 and 12 need their booster,” Taggart told the Northwest News Network. “They need to be revaccinated, even kids who have already been vaccinated for pertussis. But it wears off over time, and, you know, a lot of parents aren’t aware of that.”

Idaho is not alone in suffering a higher than expected number of pertussis cases this year. Public Health officials in California have announced that they are in the middle of their worst outbreak in 50 years, which has been responsible for the deaths of six infants to date.