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Whooping Cough Reported In Utah County
On the rare occasion, whooping cough can be fatal, mostly in infants.

A high school student in Salem has been diagnosed with whooping cough, raising some concern among parents and other members of the community. According to the health officials, the incident has not been labeled an outbreak. While the disease can on rare occasions be life-threatening, Lance Madigan of the Utah County Health Department said that treatment is simple as easy to obtain.

“It’s not generally life-threatening, it’s persistent but it’s not, shall we say, that bad. What we do is we try and let people around the case know so that they can be treated. Pertussis is bacterial, so we can give antibiotics and they’re effective,” Madigan said. “But people have to know about it because they won’t go in for a cold. We wouldn’t want people to go into the doctor for a cold. [For] pertussis, we would definitely want them to see a doctor, get treatment, and help us stop the spread of the disease.”

A letter was sent home to parents of Salem Hills High School students, explaining the situation. Madigan said that staying current on immunizations can help prevent the spread of whooping cough.

“The first thing is to be immunized. The vaccine is one that if you don’t remember the last time you’ve had it, it’s probably time for a booster. For kids, there’s a regular schedule: they need two before they enter kindergarten and then there’s a booster in seventh grade,” he said. “Outside of that, just good general hygiene. Being careful to not tough your face, wash your hands regularly, cover your cough, those types of things you would do for colds and flus.”   

So far, 15 cases of whooping cough have been reported in Utah County during 2015.