Tdap Vaccine in a glass vial for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

Pertussis continues to spread in Garfield County, which now has 11 confirmed cases since October 2023. The illness is circulating throughout Colorado, but most of the Western Slope cases have occurred in Garfield County.

“This recent outbreak has involved more cases than we have seen in the past five years,” said Rachel Forsyth, Garfield County Public Health nurse. “It is likely that pertussis is also occurring in other places, but they are not identifying it. We want people to be aware that cases are continuing to pop up, and to let them know how they can protect themselves.”
The pertussis vaccine also protects against tetanus and diphtheria and is commonly known as the DTaP or Tdap. For those who are already ill, early treatment helps lessen the severity of symptoms.

“If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to have severe disease,” Forsyth said.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is often recognized as a cough that lasts longer than two weeks. The disease can be severe and even fatal for infants under a year, or individuals with risk factors such as neuro-muscular diseases, lung and immune disorders, or women who are pregnant, or not up to date on vaccine. Other symptoms may include fever, sore throat, runny nose, or congestion.

Garfield County Public Health is working to notifying individuals who have may have been exposed to pertussis to make sure they get the treatment they need to prevent further spread of this illness.

The department encourages everyone to check their vaccine records and to get vaccinated if out of date.

For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pertussis page or call Garfield County Public Health at 970-625-5200, extension 8135.