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Delta County News Flash

Posted on: October 19, 2018

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

During 2017, Colorado reported 680 cases of pertussis. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a very contagious illness, passed to others by respiratory droplets (usually through coughing). Pertussis can cause severe illness especially in infants and young children.

Pertussis begins with a mild cough that progressively becomes more severe until the person develops coughing fits (that can last for weeks).  Vomiting, breathlessness, a change in facial color, and/or a whooping sound may follow the coughing fits.  Pertussis may be very severe in infants and young children (especially those without 3 doses of pertussis vaccine), and may result in hospitalization, seizures, long-term neurological problems, and even death.  Pertussis can also occur in immunized individuals, because the immunity gained from childhood vaccination typically wanes by adolescence.  

Persons with a persistent cough should inform their physician of their symptoms and if their physician suspects pertussis, they should be tested.   

Delta County Health Department (DCHD) staff recommends that you review immunization records of all children, adolescents, and adults in your household to ensure they are up-to-date on their DTaP/Tdap shots. Caregivers of young children should also ensure that they are up-to-date on their Tdap vaccinations.   


In summary, DCHD staff recommends the following:

  • Contact your health care provider if you have a persistent cough.  
  • If diagnosed with pertussis, complete a course of an appropriate antibiotic for pertussis. 
  • Individuals diagnosed with pertussis will be excluded from school/child care until they have completed 5 days of an appropriate antibiotic. 
  • Review the DTaP/Tdap immunization records of all members of your household and arrange for vaccination if not up to date. 

If you have any questions, contact the Delta County Health Department at 970-874-2165.

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