WHOOPING COUGH: Boosters May Be Required

The name of the disease may sound obsolete, but the numbers prove whooping cough is on a comeback.

“Here in Polk County, we had 32 cases in the month of august compared to last year, where we had 33 cases total,” said Sarah Boese from the Polk County Health Department.

1085 cases statewide is the highest number since 2004 and the disease is targeting Iowa’s children.

“We want to go ahead and make sure our children are protected,” said Don Callaghan from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

In Iowa, four to six year old children are required to get the booster shot for the immunization, but they aren’t the ones most at risk this year.

“We’re seeing a majority of our cases this year at 10-14 years of age,” Callaghan told Channel 13 News.

Those late elementary and middle school age children are the ones exempt from having to get the booster shot. 

Don Callaghan says the Iowa Department of Public Health can’t do anything more to stop the spread this year.  Instead, they’re shooting for 2013. 

This week, officials urged the Iowa Board of Health to re-write its laws. 

Callaghan says every child should receive a pertussis booster shot before entering seventh grade.

“That immunity is waning over time. So we want to get that booster dose at your 11-12 year old visit.”

Now, it’s in the board of health’s hands. 

Members will decide on whether to require the booster by the end of this year.  Any changes would happen next year.


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