Updated: Friday, 14 Oct 2011, 3:07 PM MDT
Published : Friday, 14 Oct 2011, 3:07 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The number of confirmed and suspected cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, continues to rise with more than half of them in Bernalillo County.
The New Mexico Department of Health reported Friday there have been 118 confirmed and probable cases and another 27 suspected cases of the contagious respiratory infection statewide since Jan. 1. Of those 81 of the confirmed and probable cases and 16 of the suspect cases are in Bernalillo County.
State health Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres said that's more cases than would be expected in Bernalillo County and that the DOH is investigating cases in schools and elsewhere. She also issued a reminder about vaccinations against pertussis.
“We encourage adolescents and adults to get the booster vaccine so they don’t get sick and pass the disease to others, particularly young infants who are the most vulnerable to serious complications," Torres said in a statement released by her office.
According to the DOH onfirmed cases have been identified at these Albuquerque-area schools:
Since October 1, 2011, 2 infants have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths.
The DOH also released this information about vaccinations and what to do if diagnosed with pertussis:
Pertussis is a serious bacterial respiratory infection that is highly contagious. It is also known as whooping cough due to the distinctive “whoop” sound that some people make after a fit of coughing.
Infants younger than one year of age are at most risk of severe disease and complications. In order to limit the spread of disease and protect infants, everyone should make certain that they are up to date with pertussis vaccinations.
Anyone with unexplained cough illness should seek medical evaluation.Babies need a series of three doses of pertussis vaccine plus a fourth booster dose to be fully protected by 15 to 18 months of age. Seventh-grade students also need a booster dose of the pertussis vaccine and a booster vaccine is also available for adults.
Anyone caring for infants should protect themselves and the infants with whom they will come into contact with by receiving a booster vaccine.
Vaccines are free for any child in New Mexico, regardless of insurance status, under the Vaccines for Children program. Most commercial insurances will cover necessary adult vaccinations.
Adults are encouraged to contact their health care provider or pharmacy plan for more information on receiving the vaccine for pertussis protection. Families with insurance should contact their child’s healthcare provider for children’s vaccine.
Children who have no insurance coverage can get vaccine at their local public health office.
To control the spread of pertussis, the Department of Health recommends the following: