Pertussis cases on the rise in La Plata, Archuleta counties  

Photo Credit: SJBPH

After two years of low case counts, Pertussis, or “whooping cough,” is more prevalent in Colorado in 2022. All residents are urged to get vaccinated to reduce the risk of infection. 

There have been 29 pertussis cases in Colorado this year, up from seven over the same period in 2021. Of those, six cases have been reported in La Plata and Archuleta counties in March. This increase serves as a reminder to be sure you are current with your pertussis vaccine – either DTaP or TdaP – which helps protect against and reduces the severity of the illness. 

Pertussis is an illness spread by direct contact with respiratory droplets or saliva from an infected person. Initial symptoms typically include cold like symptoms and a mild cough or fever. This can develop into fits of rapid coughing followed by a high-pitched “whoop” sound, vomiting and gasping. Symptoms are often more severe in babies. The average incubation period is 7-10 days. 

People who are current on their DTaP or TdaP vaccine can still be infected with pertussis but usually experience a milder and shorter illness. Find out more about vaccinations at 

Of the cases reported statewide, the individuals infected with pertussis have ranged in age from 10 months to 77 years. There have been no reported hospitalizations associated with the cases. Aside from two family clusters, none of the cases are linked nor do they share a common exposure. 

If you are experiencing a cough that has lasted two or more weeks, or coughing fits or post-cough vomiting, see your medical provider. 

San Juan Basin Public Health is a local public health agency, governed by a seven-member local Board of Health, serving all residents of La Plata and Archuleta counties. For over 70 years, San Juan Basin Public Health has improved the health and environment of the Southwest Colorado community. 

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