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BACKGROUND

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly infectious respiratory disease caused by a bacteria. Whooping cough can be very dangerous for infants younger than a year old, as they are too young to be fully immunized against the illness. Even though the disease may be milder in older persons, those who are infected may still transmit the disease to other susceptible persons, including those who are not immunized or infants who don’t yet have all recommended doses for full protection.

 

REGIONAL & LOCAL SITUATION

Mesa County has identified its first case of pertussis of 2022. The case in an adult over the age of 60, not currently hospitalized.

Statewide, there have been 60 cases of pertussis reported since January 1. Nineteen of those cases were in individuals in southwest/western Colorado. For comparison, during the same time frame in 2021, there were only 3 cases identified in the Western Slope.

 

PREVENTION

The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated. Community members, especially pregnant mothers and those spending time around infants, should make sure they are up-to-date on immunizations. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:

  • Pregnant women should receive a Tdap dose during the third trimester of every pregnancy.
  • Babies need DTaP doses at two, four, and six months of age, and again between 15 and 18 months.
  • Children ages 4-10 should have 5 doses of DTaP. Age 11 is the standard age for 1st Tdap booster.
  • Adults should get one dose of Tdap or Td every 10 years. Adults who have never received Tdap should get Tdap in place of a Td dose.

Families are also encouraged to stay home from work, school, or child care when they are sick and to practice good hand washing to help prevent the spread of illness in our community.

MCPH offers DTaP and Tdap immunizations and accepts all major health insurance plans including Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Plan. We also have programs for those without insurance and serve all patients regardless of ability to pay.