Printed on: May 16, 2013

Whooping cough outbreak prompts free vaccinations


Post Register

Whooping cough is on the rise in eastern Idaho, and officials are encouraging residents to get children vaccinated.

There have been eight confirmed cases of whooping cough in eastern Idaho this year. Five cases have been reported in the past month, according to a news release from the Eastern Idaho Public Health District.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a respiratory tract infection that is highly contagious. At first, the disease mimics a common cold but can grow into an uncontrollable cough and can be fatal, especially in children younger than 1, the news release said. An infant died of whooping cough in Pocatello last May.

Early symptoms of whooping cough last for one to two weeks and include:

Runny nose

Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)

Mild, occasional cough

Apnea -- a pause in breathing.

As the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of whooping cough appear:

Fits of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched "whoop"

Vomiting

Exhaustion after coughing fits.Whooping cough clinic

The Eastern Idaho Public Health District is hosting a free immunization clinic for kids 18 and younger from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday at the health district office, 1250 Hollipark Drive.Call 533-3235 to schedule an appointment. For those with questions about whooping cough, vaccinations or the free immunization clinic, call 533-3223. Information also is available at www.phd7.idaho.gov.