New Mexico reports more than 300 cases of pertussis

The New Mexico Department of Health reported on Tuesday that 331 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, were reported in the state this year.

The counties with the highest highest rate of pertussis infection in 2013 are Santa Fe, Taos and Los Alamos counties. There were no deaths from pertussis reported this year. Nine infants were hospitalized as a result of their infections.

“Pertussis is very contagious and can cause serious illness―especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated,” Retta Ward, the secretary of the DOH, said. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent pertussis. The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women and anyone who is going to be around a baby make sure they are up to date on their pertussis vaccination.”

Last year, there were 898 cases of pertussis reported in New Mexico and two deaths.

New Mexico residents can contact their pharmacy or healthcare provider to get vaccinated. There are two types of pertussis vaccines, including the DTaP and Tdap. DTaP is the vaccine given to infants and children and Tdap is the pertussis vaccine for older children, adolescents and adults.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that pregnant women receive a Tdap vaccine with each pregnancy between the 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. Receiving the vaccination during pregnancy enables the passing of protective antibodies from the mother to the fetus to protect the newborn in the first two months of life. Infants receive their first pertussis vaccination at two months of age.

The CDC also recommends that anyone who is going to be around an infant receive the Tdap vaccine to reduce the risk of transmission.