Iowa is not part of the national outbreak of cases of a childhood illness. Epidemiologists say there’s resurgence in whooping cough, but so far this year, Iowa’s only had 25 cases compared to 36 last year. It’s a different story in Johnson County, where Health Director Ralph Wilmoth says they’ve been tracking an outbreak. The outbreak began last September and there are 132 cases on record, compared to a 1997 outbreak that totaled 157 cases. Though there have been some critics of immunization who say a few children suffer complications from the preventive shots, Wilmoth says the outbreak isn’t blamed on a lack of vaccination.Most people who’ve gotten whooping cough, or pertussis, have had their shots. Wilmoth says it’s not a case of lacking immunization, since most toddlers are up-to-date on their “baby shots” in Johnson County.Most affected are school-age kids, and CDC and others speculate the immunization fades in effectiveness with time. The outbreak can’t be traced to a single source or person, says Wilmoth.It can be mild, and only caught by an alert doctor, so there were probably plenty of cases before the first whooping cough case was actually diagnosed. All have been in Johnson County, mostly in Iowa City with a dozen or so cases diagnosed in Solon. While there’s a national rise in cases of whooping cough, the state health department says since January Iowa’s recorded 25 cases compared with 36 this time last year.
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