Whooping cough cases surge in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Idaho is seeing a surge in the number of whooping cough cases reported this year. Last year, the Gem State had 87 reported cases, and in 2012, we saw 76. But so far, we've seen 179 reports this year, and it's only June.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare says a large part of the problem could be that many people aren't staying up to date on their T-DAP vaccination. It's a shot most people get as a child, but booster shots are required to keep the vaccine active. When enough older children and adults neglect to get their boosters, whooping cough can begin spreading.

Nearly a third of this year's infections have been in newborns who are too young to get the vaccination and have a harder time fighting off the cough.

"Babies under six months, very often they're hospitalized," said Sarah Correll, an epidemiologist at Central District Health Department in Boise. "And when they're less than four months they definitely can die, so it is important that everyone in the home stay up to date on their vaccines and they protect the baby while it's trying to build up its immunity."

In addition to those living with infants, Health and Welfare strongly recommends that anyone who is going to even come into contact with a baby be vaccinated as well, because the illness is that contagious.

According to Health and Welfare, there has been one death due to whooping cough in Idaho in 2014, and it was a baby.