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Whooping Cough Cases Continue to Soar

Oceanside CA- Cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, continue to soar in San Diego County, putting the region on pace for the worst year for the disease since 2010 according to the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

There were 10 new cases reported this week in which others may have been exposed, bringing the total number of cases to 266 reported so far in 2014. There were 51 cases reported by this date in 2013 and a total of 430 that year. A high of 1,179 cases was reported in 2010. The complete list of new cases is below.

“We are seeing a level of pertussis activity that should cause concern for parents and caregivers,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “We want everyone to receive the recommended vaccines so that they are protecting themselves as well as everyone around them.”

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 the following vaccination schedule:

  • Young children need five doses of DTaP by kindergarten: at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.
  • All students entering 7th grade need proof of a whooping cough booster immunization (Tdap).
  • A Tdap booster is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got a booster before becoming pregnant.
  • One dose of Tdap is recommended for adults 19 years of age and older who did not get Tdap as an adolescent.

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:

  • A 5-year-old at Pomerado Elementary School in the Poway Unified School District
  • A 6-year-old at Albert Einstein Academy in the San Diego Unified School District
  • A 9-year-old at Darnall Charter School in San Diego
  • An 11-year-old at Diegueno Country School in Rancho Sante Fe
  • A 13-year-old at Carmel Valley Middle School in the San Dieguito Union High School District
  • A 13-year-old at Pershing Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District
  • A 14-year-old at La Costa Canyon High School in the San Dieguito Union High School District
  • A 14-year-old at Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District
  • Two individuals at the San Diego Volleyball Club
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