San Diego County has seen over 1,183 confirmed cases of pertussis to date in 2014, a new record high since 1,179 cases in 2010, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough for the distinctive coughing sound that accompanies the illness, has made a resurgence in California this year, with over 6,000 cases reported in the state. San Diego has seen more than double the state average rate per 100,000 people. The record-breaking rates are nearly three times last year’s figures, when the county saw only 424 cases.
Pertussis activity tends to go in cycles and peaks every 3-4 years, according to County Public Health Officer Wilma J. Wooten.
“We are working with local health care professionals and educators to stress the need for everyone to be up-to-date with their vaccinations and for pregnant women to get vaccinated, Wooten said in a County News Center release. “Although most schools were closed for summer break, clusters of cases continued in middle and high school settings in year-round schools, in summer camps, and day programs throughout the county.”
Pertussis typically manifests as a cough and runny nose before the patient develops rapid coughing fits that end with a whooping sound. The disease and its symptoms can be controlled with antibiotics.
No deaths from pertussis have been reported in San Diego County, but three infants in California have died this year.
The disease has affected children in particular, with eight percent of the San Diego County cases seen in patients under one year of age and 47 percent in those between the ages of 13 and 18.
For preventative measures, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends five doses of the vaccine, DTaP, by kindergarten. All students entering 7th grade need proof of a whooping cough booster immunization, Tdap.
Additionally, the CDC recommends a booster for pregnant women during their third trimester of pregnancy, as well as a dose of Tdap for adults who did not get a booster as adolescents.