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Free vaccination clinics to prevent whooping cough

Published On: Oct 06 2012 10:54:57 AM CDT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Reported cases of pertussis (whooping cough) are on the rise in Colorado.

The Colorado Health Department reported 940 cases from Jan. 2012 until Sept. 22 2012.

Of those cases, the biggest group of people infected were under 6-months old.

"The disease goes in cycles about every 5 years. It's been 7 since the last large outbreak in the country," said Dr. Bill Letson, Medical Director for El Paso County Public Health.

El Paso County Public Health is urging people, especially those who care for infants and toddlers, to get vaccinated in order to help prevent an outbreak in El Paso County.

In conjunction with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, the county is having three immunization clinics for TDAP and Flu Shots.

They will be on Oct. 6, Nov. 10 and Dec. 8 at the Fire Department Headquarters at 375 Printers Parkway in Colorado Springs.

The clinic is for licensed and home care child care workers.

From the El Paso County Public Health:

More information on the problem of pertussis:

In 2012, the largest number of reported pertussis cases was among adults 45 years and older (26 percent) followed by children ages 1-6 (21 percent). Increasing the Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, pertussis) vaccination among adults helps prevent the spread of disease and protects the most vulnerable, particularly young infants. This effort is called “cocooning,” or vaccinating everyone who comes into close contact with an infant. Infants suffer the most severe consequences of whooping cough, including prolonged illness, hospitalization, and death.

A substantial number of pertussis cases occur in adults (29 percent of all cases between 2009 and 2011) Adolescents and adults with pertussis may have delayed diagnosis or not seek medical care at all, but are infectious and can spread disease within their homes, workplaces, or schools.

Pertussis can occur at any age. It may be very severe in infants and young children.

In El Paso County, there were 53 cases reported in 2007; 9 cases in 2008; 20 cases in 2009; 21 cases in 2010; 37 cases in 2011 and 34 cases in 2012 (January 1 - September 19).

Pertussis is described as a bacterial infection within the respiratory tract that is easily spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The illness begins with sneezing, a runny nose and mild cough, but becomes more severe during the first week or two. The cough may last a couple of months.

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the vaccine for pertussis is given in combination with vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. The recommendation for the vaccination is that a total of five doses be given at two, four, six, 15 to 18 months, and between four to six years. Single doses are recommended for children 11 to 12 years of age or for those who have never received the vaccination.

According to the CDPHE's study of vaccine preventable diseases in Colorado from 2002-2012, most complete years don't see as many reports of pertussis as there have been just through August of this year. 2004 and 2005 appeared to be particularly hard-hit with 1,185 and 1,383 cases, respectively.

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