Iowa sees spike in whooping cough cases

In Iowa, cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, are up 33 percent over the average of the last five years, according to experts at the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Reports from throughout the state show that there have been 423 pertussis cases in Iowa this year, the Chicago Tribune reports. Last year, there were only about 200 by this time. The five year average is approximately 318.

Ann Garvey, a deputy state epidemiologist with the Iowa Department of Public Health, told the Chicago Tribune that the increase is not entirely surprising. She said that pertussis is a disease that runs in cycles every three to five years.

"We're seeing activity pretty much statewide this year," Garvey said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Council Bluffs first saw cases in September, prompting school officials to offer free vaccinations. In October, the outbreak had spread to Comanche and Clinton. School officials there sent letters home to parents about various treatment options.

Later, in Scott County, officials reported a rise in the average number of cases. They have since confirmed that more than 100 cases have appeared since July. Over the last week, Henry County confirmed cases of pertussis in its students, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Garvey said that the largest prevention factor is to get inoculated. Pertussis vaccines are now part of routine vaccination sets for children and adolescents. Adults, she said, should receive a one-time booster.