Health Officials Renew Call for Immunizations in Shadow of Whooping Cough Death

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Whooping cough has claimed the life of a 9-week-old Idaho girl. It is the first 2012 death from an outbreak of the respiratory disease that has hit Idaho, Montana and Washington state. The infant had been treated for pertussis at a Pocatello hospital last Wednesday before being transported to a Salt Lake City hospital, where she later died.

Since January, 31 cases of whooping cough have been officially reported in Idaho. The last infant death in Idaho from the disease was in 2009. Washington state has seen 1,132 confirmed cases so far this year. And Montana has seen an alarming rate: 99 cases so far this year, double the number recorded during the same period last year.

The Idaho death and the spike in whooping cough cases are again leading health officials to renew their call for vaccinations for children and booster shots for adults who are in contact with babies and young children.