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‘Whooping cough’ more prevalent this year locally, across Colorado

Residents urged to get vaccinated to reduce risk of infection
Pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are up in Archuleta and La Plata counties, according to San Juan Basin Public Health. (Durango Herald file)

Whooping cough cases are up across western Colorado, including in Archuleta and La Plata counties, San Juan Basin Public Health warned this week.

Health officials are aware of 29 pertussis cases so far this year in Colorado, compared with seven for the same period in 2021, according to a news release from SJBPH.

Of those, six cases were reported in Archuleta and La Plata counties in March. The increase is a reminder for residents to make sure they are current with their pertussis vaccine – either DTaP or TdaP – which helps protect against and reduces the severity of the illness, the release said.

According to the health department, pertussis is an illness spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person.

Initial symptoms typically include cold-like symptoms and a mild cough or fever.

“This can develop into fits of rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched ‘whoop’ sound, vomiting and gasping,” the release said.

Symptoms are often more severe in babies. The average incubation period is seven to 10 days.

Those who are current on their vaccine can still become infected with pertussis but usually experience a milder and shorter illness. Residents can learn more about the vaccinations at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/pertussis/index.html.

Ages of those infected statewide range from 10 months to 77 years. No hospitalizations are associated with cases so far this year.

Anyone experiencing a cough that lasts two or more weeks, or coughing fits or post-cough vomiting, is advised to see a medical provider.

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