The number of whooping cough cases in Colorado is spiking to epidemic levels and public health officials are urging families to get vaccinated.
As of August 11, 2012, 715 whooping cough cases had been reported.
That’s compared to an average of 158 cases at the same time the last few years.
Though the increase is widespread, the largest numbers of cases have been reported from Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver and Jefferson counties.
It’s a pretty scary situation for Sherri Wright. Her five year old son Brooklyn can’t get the vaccine because he is allergic to it. She hopes other people will get vaccinated, so that he can remain healthy.
But seven percent of Colorado families now opt out of immunizations. Public health officials say babies are most at risk from whooping cough, also known as pertussis.
Dr. Chris Urbina, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, “Infants are particularly susceptible to severe disease due to pertussis and have much higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths due to pertussis. Infants are too young to have received all the doses necessary to protect against pertussis, so immunizing people who care for infants and who spend time around infants is key.”
Kids ages 11 to 12 should also get a booster.