Iowa whooping cough cases continue to grow

Cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, are on the rise in Iowa this year and in the conceivable future.  

“We’ve had about twice as many cases this year as we did last year and unfortunately, right now, we’re projecting we’ll even have twice as many next year as we had this year,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health, said, according to Radio Iowa. “So our numbers are going up, we’ve got more children getting ill and we’re asking people to try and help us get this under control.

Pertussis is caused by bacteria and can lead to severe coughing spells and even death in some cases. Studies have shown that 75 percent of infants who contract pertussis had the illness given to them by an adult in the household, Radio Iowa reports.

Quinlisk said that parents need to take themselves and their children to be vaccinated to stop the growing number of infections.

“We want to make sure that adults understand they need to make sure that they’re vaccinated,” Quinlisk said, Radio Iowa reports. “Even though we as adults don’t get that sick, we can pass it on to children who can get quite ill with this.”

To reduce the incidence of whooping cough, the pertussis vaccination was added to the tetanus booster several years ago. Quinlisk said that adults can be vaccinated more frequently than every 10 years by the booster to keep pertussis cases lower.