Pertussis ("whooping cough") is one of the most commonly occurring vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States, with cases being reported annually in every state. From January 1, 2012 through October 6, 2012, Colorado has experienced a rapid increase in the numbers of pertussis cases in the state. Larimer County is also seeing a significant rise in numbers of cases. In late August, 2012, Pertussis was declared an epidemic by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and by the CDC.
In Colorado, from Jan. 1 through October 6, 2012, a total of 1,026 cases of pertussis have been confirmed and reported, compared to a 2011 total of 419 for the entire year.
In Larimer County
Between January 1, 2012 and October 6, 2012, Larimer County has had confirmed 47 cases (average for 2007-2011 is 10/yr). Cases occurred while schools were out for the summer, when pertussis transmission is usually low. Cases are expected to increase as children have returned to school and the holidays are approaching. Most of the cases in Larimer County have been in persons aged 8 - 14 years old. Overall, ages ranged from three weeks to 58 years old.
Generally, rates of pertussis are highest among infants under 6 months of age, followed by infants 6 to 11 months old, and children 11-14 years. Though the increase in numbers of cases is widespread, the largest numbers of cases have been reported from Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver and Jefferson counties. There have been no reported deaths due to pertussis in Colorado in 2012.
Pertussis in early infancy is frequently severe and potentially fatal.
Vaccination is the safest and most effective tool available to prevent pertussis. All persons with infant contact (caring for an infant; or member of a household with an infant) who have not received a Tdap vaccine already should get one, particularly pregnant women in the third trimester. Children under age 7 should receive DTaP vaccine according to the recommended child immunization schedule.
For more information on Pertussis and pertussis vaccine see;