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Whooping Cough Cases on Rise in County

Oceanside CA- (SDCHHSA) Ten new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, where others in the county may have been exposed to the disease have been reported to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency this week bringing the total number of cases to 154 for the year. Details of the new cases are listed below.

The number of cases of pertussis reported by this date last year was only 33. There were 430 cases of pertussis reported in 2013, 165 in 2012 and a recent high of 1,179 cases in 2010.

“We’re seeing a very high level of pertussis activity throughout San Diego County,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Parents, caregivers and educators should be on the lookout for symptoms so those with pertussis get treatment so they don’t infect others.

“It’s also important that everyone obtain the recommended vaccines.”

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. Antibiotics can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get doses of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. Health officials also recommend that preteens and adults get a Tdap booster. Infants younger than 1 year old are especially vulnerable because they do not have the full five-dose series of pertussis vaccinations.

Parents can obtain the DTaP vaccine series and the Tdap booster shot for themselves and their children through their primary care physicians. Local retail pharmacies offer vaccinations for a fee, and anyone who is not covered by a medical insurance plan can get the shot from a County Public Health Center at minimal or no cost.

For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.

All of the new pertussis cases reported at the following locations were up-to-date for their age on immunizations, except the one case noted:

  • A 2-year-old at Lifetime Montessori School in San Diego
  • A 5-year-old at Temple Solel Early Childhood Center in Cardiff
  • A 5-year-old at Hannalei Elementary School in the Vista Unified School District
  • A 7-year-old at John Otis School in the National School District
  • A 7-year-old at San Diego Jewish Academy in San Diego
  • A 9-year-old at St. Martin of Tours Academy in La Mesa
  • A 9-year-old Lincoln Elementary School in the Escondido Union School District
  • A 9-year-old Sunset Hills Elementary School in the Poway Unified School District
  • A 12-year-old who was not up-to-date on immunizations at Cajon Valley Middle School in the Cajon Valley Union School District
  • A 13-year-old at Hilltop Middle School in the Sweetwater Union High School District
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