Cases of whooping cough on the rise in Colorado

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Colorado has just topped the 1,000 case mark for the number of pertussis cases in the state, reports the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.

Pertussis is commonly known as whooping cough, and officially, the state has 1,026 cases of the disease, despite readily available vaccinations against it.

“Whooping cough cases continue to mount in Colorado, and every new case is a reminder that we need to ensure everyone is up-to-date on their whooping cough immunizations,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, director of the Immunization Section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “It’s especially important for those who have contact with young children, who are more vulnerable to whooping cough. Childcare workers, healthcare workers, parents, grandparents and siblings of young children should all make sure they are up to date on their whooping cough vaccinations.”

All adults are recommended to receive the whooping cough booster vaccine, Tdap, but few have received it, or even know they should.

Denver, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Boulder counties had the most whooping cough cases. While the increase in pertussis cases is most prevalent on Colorado’s Front Range, increases have been seen statewide.

This is the worst year in Colorado for whooping cough since 2005 when the state had 1,383 cases. During the past five years, Colorado has averaged 324 cases per year.

“Pertussis is a very serious disease that can be deadly when it infects infants, so we are grateful that so far we have not had any whooping cough deaths this year,” Herlihy said.

Individuals with pertussis should avoid contact with others until they have taken five full days of an appropriate antibiotic. This recommendation is especially important for children who are in school and could infect their classmates if they return too soon. In addition, people in close contacts of a case of pertussis should receive a course of antibiotics to prevent becoming sick themselves, or infecting others.