Close-up of a woman coughing.

Take precautions against pertussis

Multiple cases confirmed in Garfield County

December 11, 2023

Garfield County Public Health is urging the community to take precautions against pertussis.

Public health has recently confirmed multiple cases of pertussis, which is commonly known as “whooping cough.” The illness is often recognized as a cough that persists for two weeks or longer. 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 who are pregnant, or not up to date on vaccine. Other symptoms may include fever, sore throat, runny nose, or congestion.

Unvaccinated individuals are more likely to experience severe or prolonged illness. The DTaP or Tdap vaccine, which stands for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, is required for schools and childcares. Tdap is recommended for pregnant persons with each pregnancy and every 10 years for the general population.

It is currently cold and flu season, and public health reminds people that if you are sick with any illness, stay home from school, work, or play.

If you are feeling ill and have a cough that lasts two weeks or is severe, see a medical provider. A nasal swab test can determine if you have pertussis, which can be treated with antibiotics. The earlier you can be treated the better. Symptoms can last up to 10 weeks.

“We are asking people to stay home if you are sick with any illness,” said Rachel Forsyth, Garfield County Public Health nurse. “If you have a cough, make sure you are avoiding little ones and vulnerable people. Some people may experience mild symptoms but for others, it can become so severe. Make sure you are up to date with your vaccine as it helps lessen severity and protects others.”

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