Whooping cough on rise

Staff and wire reports

Whooping cough is on the rise in parts of New Mexico, but not an issue so far this year in the eastern part of 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 said there are 188 confirmed, probable and suspected pertussis cases in the state and 130 of those have been reported in Bernalillo County.

But Smelser said no cases have been reported this year in Curry, Roosevelt, DeBaca or Quay counties.

Curry County reported 11 cases of whooping cough in 2010, Smelser said.

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

He said a jump in cases can be attributed to whooping cough turning up in a large population centers such as Albuquerque.