Iowa facing rise of whooping cough cases

The number of cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, is rising in Iowa, prompting state health officials to urge people to get vaccinated.

At this time last year, there were 196 confirmed cases of the illness in the state. So far this year, according to state health officials, reports, there have been 362 cases.

Infants and young children face the greatest risk. In some cases, pertussis can be deadly. In California, 10 infants have died during this year’s outbreak.

"You have a lot of babies not immunized, fatal for little kids," Dr. Asha Madia told

Approximately 54 percent of the pertussis cases in Iowa are children between the ages of five and 14.

Adults, however, especially those that are around children, are also encouraged to get vaccinated. It is estimated that half of whooping cough infections in children were passed on by adults who may not have even know they were carrying the disease.

"We are hoping older kids and adults are immunized so they don't transmit to young kids and make it worse," Madia said, reports.

Health officials are encouraging anyone who has not had the vaccine in the last five years to get the DTap shot. It is believed that only six percent of adults are currently vaccinated.