Pertussis Outbreak

Nov 2, 2011

BOISE, Id – Nine children in Idaho’s Panhandle have Whooping Cough.  The highly contagious illness has been spreading in Kootenai County.  Most of the sick children were not vaccinated.

Since January, 39 cases have been confirmed in the five northern counties.  But in Ada, Boise, Elmore, and Valley, the counties covered by Central District Health, the familiar whoop of whooping cough is not being heard.

Dave Fotsch “It’s been pretty quiet in our health district, so far this year, we’ve only had eleven cases, of Pertussis.  Our average over the past ten years has been about 25 cases a year.”

Dave Fotsch is with Central District Health.  He says in the last two years, Pertussis cases have been up, both here and around the country.  In 2010, more than 27-thousand cases of Whooping Cough were reported in the U-S.  Locally, cases were up.

Dave Fotsch “Last year we had 39 cases and the year before that we had 35, so it hasn’t been a big problem here, we’re always on the lookout for it and we know it’s probably underreported.”

The best prevention is the Pertussis vaccine, which most people get as children.  But the immunity can wane.  Health officials now recommend a booster for pre-teens.  A new Idaho law requires teenagers to get the Whooping Cough booster before they enter seventh grade.


Copyright 2011 BSPR