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DENVER (AP/CBS4) – The Colorado health department says at least 715 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the state so far this year.
The department says the 715 cases reported through Aug. 11 is far above the five-year average of 158 cases typically reported by that time of year.
State health department executive director Chris Urbina said Monday it’s key for people who spend time around infants to be vaccinated against the respiratory disease, also pertussis, because babies are too young to have received all the doses necessary to protect against it. Health officials also are recommending the vaccine for pregnant women in the third or late second trimester and health care workers.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment lists the following information about immunizations.
Health departments and nursing services in all Colorado counties provide free or low-cost immunizations for children. In addition, the States Immunization Program supplies vaccines to many private physicians throughout the state to use in immunizing their patients who do not have insurance or who are enrolled in Medicaid. Parents may call the Family Healthline to find a public clinic in their zip code area. Call 303-692-2229 in the Denver/Boulder area, or 1-800-688-7777 toll free statewide.
In addition, if you do not have insurance or if your child is enrolled in Medicaid, you should ask your physician about your child’s eligibility for vaccines through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)