PERTUSSIS WARNING: Booster Vaccines Advised

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Pertussis has health and school officials on high alert.

Cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, are sky-rocketing across the state. So far, more than 1,000 cases have been reported.

It’s prompted the Iowa Department of Public Health to encourage new rounds of vaccinations for middle-school students — which is when the initial vaccine likely wears off.

Health leaders say whooping cough is difficult to diagnose at first because you might not notice symptoms for up to 20 days after you’ve been exposed and they mimic signs of a common cold. A persistent cough is the most notable symptom.

Experts say the best way to prevent the spread of the disease is to wash your hands, cough in your sleeve, and use hand sanitizers.