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Confirmed Whooping Cough Cases In Bozeman Nearly Double In 24 Hour Span

By Jess Antonio
Published On: Nov 03 2011 09:28:36 AM MDT
Updated On: Nov 07 2011 08:45:15 AM MST
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Gallatin City-County health official Matt Kelley says confirmed cases of Pertussis, or whooping cough, continues to grow by the day.

"The number of cases that we're seeing in Gallatin County is growing, it's not surprising in a situation like this when you get a significant number of cases we tend to see disease transmission, we tend to get people passing it on to one another. A this point in time we have twenty-eight reported cases of Pertussis," Kelley said.

In just twenty-four hours the number nearly doubled with almost the entirety of the positive cases coming from Bozeman High School. Kelley says twenty-five students and one coach have whooping cough, as well as one person from a day care, and one whose location has yet to be released.

School Superintendent Kirk Miller says hundred of students at the high school have been interviewed to see if they've come into close contact with those that are ill.

"We have interviewed approximately 350 students, the county health nurses come in and they interview students who would be considered close contacts," Miller said.

"If we've interviewed somebody as a close contact, it's a safe bet that they're on preventative antibiotics," said Kelley.

Kelley says he expects the number of positive cases to continue to grow, and that there is no way of knowing when the disease will diminish and leave the community.

"There's no switch to flip to turn this off, it's in our community right now, it's in Bozeman High School and we're working hard to protect the people that need to be protected," he said," but again, this is going to take some time and once an outbreak reaches this level of illness, sometimes it just has to run it's course."

The health department says babies under six months old, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are most at risk for health complications if they get whooping cough.