Nationally, rates of "pertussis" are up. And Illinois is no exception. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports just over one thousand cases of the disease known as "whooping cough" already this year.
A new state law seeks to help stop the spread of the highly-infectious disease. State Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck says babies and young children get a series of immunizations against pertussis. The new law requires students entering the sixth and ninth grades get a booster shot.
"Because the reason why we believe that there's a resurgence is because we know that the immunization, or the immunity after getting a vaccination, kind of wanes over time. It's not a lifelong immunity. So a booster is really needed to rev your immune system back up" Hasbrouck said.
Students have until October 15th to show their schools proof they've received the vaccination.
Whooping cough is an airborne bacterial infection transmitted by coughing and sneezing. It causes respiratory problems, but Hasbrouck says it can also cause ear infections, dehydration, and weight loss. And in cases, it can even be fatal. Young children and pregnant women are most at risk.