Pertussis, or whooping cough, is widespread in Colorado and Weld County schools.  The Windsor area has seven diagnosed cases in the past month alone.   According to to the Weld County Health Department, so far this year, Weld County has 116 diagnosed cases, the same number for all of 2013. In Windsor, six cases were directly related to schools, and one case was diagnosed in an 11 month old.  In past years, Weld County had an average of only 4 or 5 cases per year.

Pertussis is a disease noted for a stubborn and persistent cough and is spread primarily from person-to-person by coughing.  Pertussis is very contagious and can be fatal in some cases.

How to Prevent the Spread of Pertussis:

1)      Get vaccinated.  According to a study conducted in 2009 by Kaiser Permanente, unvaccinated children are 23 times more likely to become infected with pertussis, than those who have been immunized. It’s important to follow the recommended series of boosters for both adults and children—because the pertussis vaccine does not provide life-long protection.

2)      Get tested—if a cough lasts longer than two weeks. Treatment will help ease symptoms.

3)      Always cover your cough and wash your hands.  The health department also recommends “cocooning” vaccination efforts beyond just the parents and siblings—that is to encourage grandparents and care givers to get vaccinated, in order to protect the infants and children they are caring for from pertussis.

[Weld County Health Department]