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UPDATED: N.M. Whooping Cough Cases Surge

Whooping cough is spreading across the state. Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection putting infants most at risk. The New Mexico Department of Health says cases of whooping cough or pertussis are up, especially in Bernalillo County.

State Department of Health epidemiologist Dr. Chad Smelser says there are 188 confirmed, probable and suspected pertussis cases in the state and 130 of those have been reported in Bernalillo County.

Smelser tells KRQE-TV the department started seeing an increase in cases last year, but before that cases had been down for the last several years.

Also, a jump in cases can be attributed to whooping cough turning up in a large population centers like Albuquerque.


3:31pm 10/14/11 — State Health Department Seeing More Pertussis Cases in Bernalillo County

Pertussis cases in Bernalillo County are continuing to increase with the number of confirmed and probable cases of the disease also known as whooping cough now at 81, along with an additional 16 suspect cases, the state Department of Health said Friday.

The agency also announced in a news release that statewide it has identified 118 confirmed and probable cases of pertussis and 27 suspect cases.

Pertussis is a serious bacterial respiratory infection that is highly contagious and is also known as whooping cough due to the distinctive “whoop” sound that some people make after a fit of coughing, according to the news release.

“We continue to see more cases in Bernalillo County than expected and are continuing to investigate cases in school and non-school settings,” said Department of Health Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres. “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.”

Confirmed cases have been identified in the following schools: A Child’s Garden; APS Family School; Atrisco Heritage Academy High School; Barcelona Elementary; Central New Mexico Community College; Eastern Hills Christian Academy; Harrison Middle School; LBJ Middle School; McCollum Elementary School; Montessori of the Rio Grande Charter School; Osuna Elementary School; Rio Grande Christian Academy; St. Luke’s Presbyterian Preschool, according to the news release.

The news release said that since Oct. 1, two infants have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths.

According to the news release, 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.

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