More than 1,000 cases of pertussis reported in Colorado

The Colorado pertussis epidemic reached 1,026 cases this year in the week ending October 22, according to state health officials.

The number of cases is the highest in the state since 2005 when there were 1,383 cases reported. The counties with the highest number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases are Denver county with 165, Jefferson county with 154, Adams county with 151, Arapahoe with 128 and Boulder with 121, the Holyoke Enterprise reports.

"Whooping cough cases continue to mount in Colorado, and every new case is a reminder that we need to ensure everyone is up to date on their whooping cough immunizations," Rachel Herlihy, the director of the Immunization section at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, according to the Holyoke Enterprise. "It's especially important for those who have contact with young children, who are more vulnerable to whooping cough. Childcare workers, health care workers, parents, grandparents and siblings of young children should all make sure they are up to date on their whooping cough vaccinations."

The public health department recommends that all adults receive the Tdap whooping cough booster vaccine. Few, however, have received the booster or know about the recommendation, according to the Holyoke Enterprise.

In the past five years, Colorado averaged 324 whooping cases per year. Cases of whooping cough typically peak every three to five years.

"Pertussis is a very serious disease that can be deadly when it infects infants, so we are grateful that so far we have not had any whooping cough deaths this year," Herlihy said, according to the Holyoke Enterprise.

Individuals with pertussis, particularly children in school who could infect their classmates, should avoid contact with others until they take five full days of prescribed antibiotics. Close contacts of individuals with pertussis should also receive a course of antibiotics to prevent becoming sick or spreading the illness.