Whooping cough has reached epidemic proportions in California by infecting 800 people in the last two weeks. However in Utah there have been 400 confirmed cases so far this year, which is down 15 percent from the same time last year.
The bacterial disease, also known as Pertussis, is common among children. This is why 45 states including Utah require the immunization for students.
Parents can get their children exempt from this requirement for personal, philosophical, medical or religious reasons. But Becky Ward, an educator for the Utah Department of Health, says this not the time skip a shot.
“Pertussis is on the rise nationwide,” Ward said. “Vaccines are the key to preventing this disease and its important for parents to consider getting the vaccine.”
All Utah school districts require seventh-grade students to receive the Tdap shot which targets Pertussis as well as Tetanus and Diphtheria.
The disease can be lethal especially for infants. According to Center for Disease Control Pertussis claims 195,000 people worldwide every year.