BOZEMAN – The number of whooping cough cases across the state is on the rise, including in Bozeman and Gallatin County.
Gallatin City-County Health Department officers say 41 cases have already been reported this year in the county; 15 were reported in just the last week.
Across the state of Montana, health officials have recorded over 260 people suffering from pertussis overall — which is almost double from the same time last year.
Officials in Bozeman add that clusters have been reported in various school districts, including Mount Ellis Academy and Montana State University.
GCC Health Department officer Matt Kelley says the number reported cases may be climbing due to the fact that awareness is rising. The best way to stop it, he said, is protection through prevention.
“The way that we protect the people who are at the greatest risk is by making sure that we are taking a careful approach, identifying those who do have the disease, making sure they are treated so they are less likely to transmit the disease and really kind of creating a cocoon around those people who are vulnerable,” Kelley said.
Kelley added that spending a lot of time around those who have whooping cough is the easiest way to catch it.
Pregnant women, unvaccinated babies and those suffering from pulmonary diseases could be most at risk.
-Reported by Cody Boyer/MTN News