An alert is out for local health care providers to look for whooping cough in infants, teens and adults.
The Central District Health Department says 12 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Ada County in the past three months. That's double the number compared to this time last year.
Dr. Mark Uranga, a pediatrician with St. Luke's Health System, says most cases are in kids and young adults between 13 and 20 years old. Whooping cough, or pertussis as it's sometimes called, is a serious respiratory disease that can often result in coughing fits. Left untreated, it can spread to others, especially infants.
"One of the most concerning presentations of whooping cough is just that infants can stop breathing before they have any other symptom," says Dr. Uranga.
Whooping cough is one of the most preventable illnesses when vaccinations are given. Dr. Uranga says infants can be vaccinated as young as six to seven weeks old.
"And it's quite important that those who are going to be around infants are sure they are up to date on their whooping cough [vaccination]," he says. "This means that moms in their third trimester should recieve the Tdap and any adult or adolsecent who is going to be around a child on a regular basis should have a Tdap booster at least once every five to ten years."
Since whooping cough can be difficult to identify, Dr. Uranga says the best way to determine if a person has it is by medical evaluation.
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