Ten new cases of pertussis, or whopping cough, were reported this week, and other people may have been exposed, the county Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday. Victims ranged in age from infancy to three 17-year-olds in local schools.
“A greater number of children are getting sick with pertussis this year,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. “Parents or guardians should make sure their children have received all the recommended doses of the pertussis vaccine.”
Some 198 pertussis cases have been reported in San Diego this year. Only 39 cases had been reported by this time last year. A total of 430 pertussis cases were reported in 2013. A high of 1,179 cases was reported in 2010.
“It is extremely important that parents, caregivers and educators observe their children for symptoms of the disease so that those who are infected can get treatment immediately and don’t infect others,” Wooten said.
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 a 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:
- An infant at Kid’s Place Child Watch at the Mission Valley YMCA on Friars Road in San Diego.
- A 3-year-old at La Jolla Presbyterian Church Preschool in La Jolla.
- A 5-year-old at Franklin Elementary School in San Diego Unified School District.
- An 8-year-old at Vista Grande Elementary School in Cajon Valley Union School District in El Cajon.
- A 13-year-old at Black Mountain Middle School in the Poway Unified School District.
- A 14-year-old at Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District.
- A 16-year-old at Hoover High School in the San Diego Unified School District.
- A 17-year-old at Mt. Everest Academy in the San Diego Unified School District.
- A 17-year-old at Rancho Bernardo High School in the Poway Unified School District.
- A 17-year-old at Canyon Crest Academy in the San Dieguito Union High School District.