- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Public Domain
- Cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, are on the rise in the Treasure Valley.
"We want to put it back on people's radar, really," said CDHD Public Information Officer Christine Myron. "We field calls every day from families that learned their child had whooping cough. That concern is there, that young babies can't get vaccinated and don't have that immunity built up. We want to protect that very vulnerable population."
So far, there have been 80 cases reported in Ada County and 19 in Canyon County, though the actual number may be higher, Myron said, as some people may not see a doctor at the onset of symptoms.
"Our numbers are going to keep going upward. We continue to get backfill numbers as people seek medical attention," Myron said.
The number of cases typically spikes every three to five years, and Myron said the 2017-18 season is the latest peak season. In the last, in 2014-15, nearly 300 cases were reported. During a typical season, however, whooping cough only affects a handful of people in the Treasure Valley.
The disease is marked by persistent coughing, often in fits. The coughing may be so forceful, sufferers may vomit. It is spread through coughing and is extremely contagious. it can be dangerous, especially for children and babies.
Myron said the first line of defense is the whooping cough vaccine—hand-washing and promptly seeking medical attention with the onset of symptoms are important, as well—though according to CDHD, approximately half of those affected in Ada Count during the current season were up to date with their whooping cough vaccines.