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Eye On Boise

Idaho whooping cough cases surge, vaccinations urged

Idaho has seen a sharp uptick in cases of pertussis this year, also known as whooping cough. The disease is most severe for babies, so the state is urging anyone who is around infants to get vaccinated with a pertussis booster vaccine, known as Tdap. “We urge parents, household members, and other caregivers to get vaccinated against this disease, to protect babies,” said Dr. Christine Hahn, state epidemiologist. “We know that in many cases, it’s the mom, dad, grandparent, or sibling that infects the babies that end up getting so sick. Vaccination of the rest of us remains the best way to protect the most vulnerable persons in our population, who are too young to be fully protected by their immunizations.”

Idaho had 77 reported cases of pertussis in the first six months of 2010, compared to 45 during the same time period a year ago. At the same time, California has experienced an epidemic of pertussis that has taken the lives of six babies. Adults who get the disease might not even know they have it; vaccination is considered the best prevention, but Idaho’s vaccination rates are among the lowest in the nation. Click here for more info from the state Department of Health & Welfare, and you can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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