TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX)- The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases in the Magic Valley is up. South Central Public Health District officials have found several cases in Filer and Buhl in the last few weeks. According to health officials pertussis is a serious disease that causes infants to persistently cough which is often complicated by pneumonia and ear infections.

Early signs include a persistent cough that follows a cold. The cough usually occurs in explosive bursts ending with a typical high-pitched whoop as the person catches their breath. It can also cause vomiting. Between bursts of coughing, the person appears well; but the coughing attacks can continue for four to six weeks. Older children or adults may have less severe symptoms. People with a cough are contagious for three weeks if untreated and for five days after treatment has begun.

Medications can treat pertussis and death is rare.Parents are encouraged to check their children's immunization status to make sure they are up to date. Adults can get and spread the virus and are also encouraged to be vaccinated. People that have a persistent cough for more than two weeks should consult a doctor.