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Whooping Cough Symptoms and Prevention


Please be on the watch for a harsh, chronic cough in your children and yourself. Central District Health has been notified about many lab-confirmed cases of whooping cough in West Ada schools since the fall of 2017. Transmission appears to be happening community-wide, since Ada County has had more than double the normal number of cases. If your medical provider suspects whooping cough, ask about a test.


Why worry about pertussis if you or your children have been vaccinated?Stethoscope

Even though you or your child may have been vaccinated, protection from the vaccine weakens or disappears over a period of time. Very few pre-teens, adolescents or adults have any protection. Pertussis can be deadly to infants. The best way to protect yourself and others is by getting vaccinated.


What should you do?

  • Watch for signs and symptoms of whooping cough: a cough that is persistent, comes in “fits”, is so forceful it causes vomiting, or it may cause a noise as the person breathes in. If symptoms are present, try to keep the child isolated from the rest of the family in the home. Consult your healthcare provider. Make sure you and all of your children are up to date on your immunizations, especially your pertussis immunizations. A booster shot for pertussis protection is required for your student to enter 7th grade (and prior to kindergarten entry).
  • Consult your doctor for specific recommendations.
  • Children 7- to 10-years-old who are not fully vaccinated against pertussis should receive Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) vaccine.
  • Adolescents 11- to 18-years-should receive a dose of Tdap, preferably at age 11 or 12.


Where can people get their Tdap vaccination?

  • Call your medical provider
  • The Meridian Schools Clinic is available for walk-in and pre-arranged appointments. They are on the school grounds at Meridian Elementary 925 NW 1st Street Meridian, ID 83642 and can be reached by calling 208-514-2527
  • Call CDHD at 208-327-7450 to make an appointment 
  • Vaccines are available through most medical clinics, urgent cares and some pharmacies


For more information about pertussis or the vaccine, visit or contact a medical provider such as your doctor, nurse or Central District Health Department’s (CDHD) Communicable Disease Program at 208-327-8625.