MESA COUNTY, Colo. An outbreak of whooping cough on the Front Range has health officials urging parents in Colorado to vaccinate their children, as the disease can be deadly for infants.
One hundred new cases of Pertussis or whooping cough were reported in the second half of October and the recent rise in cases has the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment urging Coloradans to make sure they're up to date on their vaccinations.
In the first 10 months of 2013, 1,116 cases of Pertussis were reported and Colorado has epidemic levels over the past two years. This disease is highly contagious, which makes it important for everyone to be up to date on their vaccines. It's especially important for people who have contact with infants to be up to date on immunizations because babies are too young to receive the vaccinations themselves and 40% of infants who do get whooping cough go to the hospital and the disease can be fatal.
Wes Calton has two young daughters and has always made sure his girls have their recommended vaccines.
"There are things in life that are unpreventable, but these few things that you can prevent are helpful to do in order for them to have a safe and healthy childhood," said Calton.
The Mesa County Health Department says we have only had one reported case of Pertussis, but despite the low number, everyone should still stay up to date on immunizations.
"The outbreak on the Front Range is a very good reminder for us to encourage everybody to get their vaccine because it could happen because if it does happen, especially if you're a small child, it could be very dangerous," said Veronica Daehn-Harvey, of The Mesa County Health Department.
Pregnant women who have never had a Tdap vaccine are encouraged to do so during their pregnancy or they should get a dose as soon as possible after delivery.
The Mesa County Health Department and Montrose Health and Human Services offers the Tdap vaccine to prevent whooping cough.