Health officials with South Central Public Health in Twin Falls, Idaho report are reporting multiple pertussis, or whooping cough cases involving multiple schools within the Kimberly, ID School District.

Image/David Benbennick
Image/David Benbennick

KTVB reports that health officials say there have been a total of three confirmed cases of pertussis in Kimberly students. The health district has recorded a total of 12 cases in the counties they serve since the beginning of the year.

The school district says based on policy, students may be temporarily excluded from school attendance when exhibiting symptoms of a communicable disease that is readily transmitted in the school setting. Kimberly School District will be taking the following precautions due to the outbreak of pertussis: Any student or staff member that exhibits symptoms of pertussis will be required to go home. Students and staff that have symptoms of pertussis will be permitted back to school with written documentation from a health provider authorizing return to school.

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Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a “whooping” sound (WATCH). Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.

There are vaccines for infants, children, preteens, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.