Mon October 22, 2012

Whooping Cough Cases Top 1,000 in Colorado

State health officials are concerned about a growing pertussis epidemic in Colorado. To date, 1,026 cases of pertussis (commonly referred to as whooping cough) have been confirmed statewide.

"We are, right now, experiencing more than five times the number of cases that we would typically see in an average year," says Dr. Rachel Herlihy, director of the Immunization Section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

She says the sharp increase in cases is a reminder that everyone needs to be up-to-date on immunizations, especially those who have contact with young children, who are more vulnerable to whooping cough.

"People like new parents, and certainly pregnant women; grandparents, child care workers, school teachers, really anyone that is going to come in contact with an infant should get the vaccine," says Herlihy.

Protection provided by the childhood pertussis vaccine wanes over time, so Herlihy notes that adults need the Tdap booster.

Credit Centers for Disease Control

This is the worst year in Colorado for whooping cough since 2005, when 1,383 cases were reported. Over the last five years, Colorado has averaged 324 cases of whooping cough each year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cases or outbreaks has reportedly increased in a majority of states this year.

Colorado cases are most prevalent along the Front Range, led by Denver (165), Jefferson (154), Adams (151), Arapahoe (128) and Boulder (121) counties.

More on pertussis from the CDC here.

Fact sheet from CDPHE on whooping cough including symptoms here [.pdf].