North Idaho and Eastern Washington share a grim distinction: Both have far higher rates of parents choosing not to immunize their children against childhood disease than either Idaho or Washington as a whole. As a result, health authorities say, youngsters in the region are at increased risk for illnesses like whooping cough and measles. In early November, nine North Idaho children were diagnosed with whooping cough, also called pertussis. “It’s a personal choice that does carry consequences, and heavy consequences for some,” said Cynthia Taggart, spokeswoman for the Panhandle Health District, which offers low-cost immunizations in all five North Idaho counties. She noted pertussis can be fatal for babies, which is part of the reason that adults who come in contact with babies are advised to get pertussis booster shots/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.