Pertussis outbreak occurring in Garfield County children

April 9, 2013

November 14, 2013
Garfield County Public Health is reporting 26 reported cases of pertussis in 2013, the last being at the end of September. Cases ranged in age from 1 year to 38 years and were distributed throughout the county. It is very important for children to get the required Tdap immunization at age 11. If they are older than that and did not receive a Tdap immunization at 11, they should receive one now. There are a high number of middle school aged children in Garfield County who still need their Tdap immunization, which is required by the schools. Whooping cough facts

July 3, 2013
Garfield County Public Health is reporting the number of whooping cough cases in Garfield County has reached 20. Public Health offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle are administering Tdap immunizations at both offices.

June 3, 2013
The number of confirmed whooping cough cases in Garfield County has reached 16 cases, the latest cases stemming from New Castle and Glenwood Springs. Tdap immunizations are being administered at GCPH offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle.

May 23, 2013
Thirteen confirmed cases of whooping cough have surfaced in Garfield County, the newest in New Castle and Rifle. Tdap immunizations are free at Garfield County Health Department offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle for adults and children ages 10 and older until June 1.

May 10, 2013
Garfield County Public Health will hold two free Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccine clinics for middle and high school students who are not up-to-date on their vaccinations for school compliance. Tdap is required for all 6th – 12th grade students attending Colorado schools. Tdap vaccines protect against whooping cough, of which 11 confirmed cases in Garfield County have been reported in the past few weeks.

Student clinic times are Tuesday, May 14, from 3 pm – 6 pm, and Saturday, May 18, from 10 am – 2 pm, at the Garfield County Public Health locations in Glenwood Springs and Rifle. Parents or guardians must present immunization records, and no appointments are necessary.

Glenwood Springs Public Health is located at 2014 Blake Avenue, next to Valley View Hospital. Please call 970-945-6614 with questions. The public health office in Rifle is located in the Garfield County Health and Human Services Building at 195 W. 14th St., next to the Garfield County Fairgrounds. For more information, call 970-625-5200.

May 1, 2013
Garfield County Public Health (GCPH) reports that the number of confirmed whooping cough cases in Garfield County has reached 11 cases. Tdap immunizations are still offered free at GCPH offices in Glenwood Springs and Rifle. More than a hundred residents have taken advantage of immunizations at GCPH clinics and at health fairs. The slow spread of the disease is encouraging to GCPH staff, but residents are urged to continue following recommended measures outlined in information below and at right.

April 25, 2013

Garfield County Public Health offers free Tdap immunizations
Ten confirmed pertussis cases in Garfield County

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – As of April 25, 2013, Garfield County had ten confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough). With a statewide epidemic over the winter, and the highly contagious disease now spreading locally, the Garfield County Public Health Department is offering all Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccinations free of charge until further notice to anyone ten years of age and older in the community. All adults who have only had Td (tetanus diphtheria) vaccinations, regardless of how recent, should receive a Tdap for pertussis protection.

The two newest cases are in Glenwood Springs. Re-1 School District has notified parents of the situation and of Garfield County Public Health recommendations.

“This disease presents grave risks to those with weaker immune systems, including children,” said Yvonne Long, Garfield County public health director. “Parents of children younger than ten years old, who are not fully immunized, are urged to call Garfield County Public Health for an appointment.”
The free vaccinations are being administered at public health offices in both Glenwood Springs and Rifle. Appointments are required, and residents may call 945-6614 or 625-5200 to set appointments. The Glenwood Springs Public Health location at 2014 Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs will also have walk-in vaccination clinics, April 29-30, from 3-6 pm. No appointments are necessary during these clinics. Parents need to bring their child’s immunization record. Rifle’s Public Health office is located in the Garfield County Health and Human Services Building at 195 West 14th Street, and offers vaccinations during business hours. Both clinics are open Monday through Friday, 8 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 5 pm.

Confirmed cases in Garfield County have been trickling in by pairs since early April. Most have affected children from the Carbondale area, but adults and three Glenwood Springs cases have now been confirmed. Vaccinations of the general community, isolation and treatment of the confirmed cases, and preventative antibiotics for close contacts are the actions public health officials and physicians are taking to slow the spread of the disease.

More information about symptoms and preventing the spread of whooping cough, as well as frequent updates, is available online at

April 23, 2013

Pertussis (whooping cough) cases increase to eight – latest case in Glenwood Springs

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – April 23 Garfield County Public Health received information from doctors that the number of pertussis (whooping cough) cases confirmed in Garfield County has risen to eight. The newest case has affected a Glenwood Springs resident, and is linked with a confirmed case in Carbondale, while the seven previous cases affected Carbondale area residents.

Full information on controlling the spread of and prevention of whooping cough is available online at

April 18, 2013

Pertussis (whooping cough) cases increase by two

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County Public Health received information the morning of April 18 that there are now six cases confirmed in Garfield County of pertussis (whooping cough).

Public health officials are working with the affected families to administer antibiotics to the residents affected by the illness, as well as to anyone who had been in contact with them in the few days prior to their illness. The two new cases involve residents of the Carbondale area, as did the previous four, and the new ones affected an adult and a child.

All other information from the April 9, 2013 press release remains the same, as shown below.

CARBONDALE, CO – As of Monday, April 8, Garfield County had four confirmed cases of individuals who tested positive for pertussis, or whooping cough. Garfield County Public Health (GCPH) is presently working to control any further spread of the contagious bacteria and is investigating several other unconfirmed cases. Public health staff is urging the community to take immediate measures to help stop the spread, by ensuring families are up-to-date on their DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) or Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccinations.

In December, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment declared a pertussis epidemic in Colorado. Until now, however, Garfield County had no reported cases. Severe illness, hospitalization, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death are potential complications associated with the disease.

Doctor Chad Knaus, M.D., stresses that immunizations are the best protection against pertussis. “Vaccines are recommended by physicians and health experts, because they are our best defense in keeping the whole community healthy,” Knaus said. “Parents may feel that not vaccinating a child is a personal decision. However, it is important to consider how that decision may impact others in the community, others who may not have the same access to health care, or who may experience greater complications from being exposed to the disease.”

“Pertussis spreads very easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes,” said Laurel Little, Nurse Manager with GCPH. “This is especially concerning for newborns, who are too young to be vaccinated. If they become exposed, the disease can be fatal,” Little added. “Older children and adults may have milder symptoms that resemble a common cold with a cough. Many times these individuals don’t know they have pertussis, and end up spreading the disease.”

Almost everyone who is not immune to whooping cough will get sick if exposed to it. Before the whooping cough vaccine was implemented in 1991, about 8,000 people in the U.S. died each year from the disease. Today because of the vaccine, the average number of deaths annually is fewer than 50.

Anyone who feels he or she may have been exposed to someone with pertussis should be evaluated by a physician.

Symptoms of whooping cough:
Early indications are a runny or stuffed-up nose, sneezing, mild cough, and even pauses in breathing for infants After one or two weeks, coughing, which can be severe, starts Children and babies can cough very hard, over and over When children gasp for breath after a coughing fit, they make a “whooping” sound Coughing fits make it hard to breathe, eat, drink, or sleep Babies and young children may turn blue while coughing, from lack of oxygen Coughing fits may occur over the span of more than two months

Who should be vaccinated?
Pregnant women
Teens and adults who live or work around young children

“Garfield County Public Health is working hard to protect its residents. Nursing staff is available for immunization appointments,” said Little. Garfield County Public Health offices are located at 2014 Blake Avenue in Glenwood Springs, and at 195 West 14th Street in Rifle. “GCPH nurses will also be at health fairs throughout Garfield County, providing pertussis vaccinations for people who are 10 years or older,” Little added.

Please call Garfield County Public Health staff to ask questions about the pertussis vaccine, or to make an appointment at 970-945-6614. Information on pertussis is also available at or Garfield County will post frequent updates on the number of cases locally in coming weeks on the county website home page.