The New Mexico Department of Health reported Friday that 331 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in New Mexico in 2013. Los Alamos is among the counties with the highest rates.
“Pertussis is very contagious and can cause serious illness —especially in infants too young to be fully vaccinated,” said Department of Health Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent pertussis.
The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women and anyone who is going to be around a baby make sure they are up to date on their pertussis vaccination.”
The counties with the highest rate of pertussis this year are Los Alamos, Taos and Santa Fe. Rates are used to describe disease activity of cases over a given period of time.
Rates take into account the different population sizes of demographic groups or geographic areas so that meaningful comparisons can be made between groups and areas.
In 2012, 898 cases of pertussis were reported in New Mexico.
Two children died last year.
No deaths have been reported this year, but nine infants have been hospitalized.
New Mexicans can contact their health care provider or pharmacy to get vaccinated. Public health offices offer the vaccine to those without insurance.