POCATELLO, Idaho -

Today schools in Marsh Valley are closing after an outbreak of Pertussis started spreading among students.

Southeastern Idaho Public Health epidemiologist Jeff Doerr said chest colds are most common this time of the year, especially in schools and other places where people are confined to close quarters.

Doerr advised parents to keep their kids home from school if they come down with a communicable disease, to prevent it from spreading to other students.

He also said thorough hand-washing can prevent 99 percent of all of these diseases, along with making sure everyone is up-to-date on immunizations.

Pocatello-Chubbuck school district superintendent Mary Vagner said she has never seen any D25 schools close in the past because of an outbreak in illnesses. 

Although school closures vary depending on each district's rules, Vagner said D25 will see a closure if illnesses become so severe, the problem becomes an epidemic.