Health officials urge whooping cough awareness | CraigDailyPress.com

Health officials urge whooping cough awareness

— Recent cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, may have Northwest Colorado residents on the alert.

The disease was found within the area with two patients employed near Baggs, Wyo., seeking treatment at the end of July, one in Montana and one in Craig. Nearly 30 of their co-workers sought treatment earlier this week.

Pamela Kinder, of Kinder Family Clinic, said she recommended the antibiotic prophylaxis for 27 patients, with additional treatment for two of them.

"It's a highly contagious disease, so anyone who's not up to date with their vaccinations should probably get revaccinated," she said.

Although the disease's presence in the region does not warrant a panic, pertussis is a health concern that is ever-present. Lisa Miller, chief of the Communicable Disease Epidemiology Section for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the state has seen numerous cases of pertussis recently.

"We've been seeing more cases here than we have in many years," she said.

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Miller added that Moffat County and surrounding areas have seen fewer cases than other parts of the state, but immunizations are important almost anywhere.

Symptoms for whooping cough are cold-like, with fever, runny nose and mild cough initially. Coughing becomes more violent as the disease stays in the body and can continue for months if not treated.

Infants, especially susceptible to the illness, can die from lack of treatment.

"What we really recommend is anyone who's around a baby getting vaccinated, especially the pregnant women so they're protected when they have that newborn," Miller said.

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com