Whooping cough cases showing up in Alaska

Whooping cough is on the rise in Alaska. It's been moving up the coast from California, and in March, caused a death of an infant in Western Alaska.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, might resemble a common cold at first with a sniffle and a cough, but if the cough becomes violent and sticks around for more than 7 days it could be pertussis.

In adults the danger is severe coughing spells which can cause a punctured lung or fractured ribs. With children it can be worse, causing breathing difficulty.

Shelley Fointe-Anderson with the Public Health Center says immunizations are must for adults and children.

"We have seen some cases of pertussis throughout Alaska. We have had some cases here in Fairbanks. And the biggest message I want to tell people is that there is a simple way to protect yourself, and that is through vaccine. Adults, caregivers, anyone who takes care of children, should be checking their immunization record to find out the last time they had a tetanus that had a Pertussis component in it," says Fointe-Anderson. "And of course children from the time they are two months get routine immunizations, and one of the vaccine components of a TDAP is pertussis."

Shelly says adults should check their child's and their own shot records to see if they require them.