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Seven Students Diagnosed with Whooping Cough

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April 13, 2010

Seven local students have been diagnosed with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). They are:

  • A 6-year-old at Capri Elementary School in the Encinitas School District. The child was not immunized.
  • Three 11-year-olds and two 10-year-olds who attend Mission Estancia Elementary School in the Encinitas School District. All five children were immunized, but had not yet received the Tdap booster shot.
  • A 13-year-old student at Options Secondary School-MAST Program, a charter school in the Sweetwater Union High School District. The child was fully immunized.

HHSA is working closely with officials at all three schools to notify staff and parents of all students who were potentially exposed.

It is recommended that children get five doses of DTaP vaccine, one dose at 2 mo., 4 mo., 6 mo., 15-18 mo., and 4-6 years of age. It is also recommended that people 11- 64 years of age receive a one-time dose of Tdap, given in place of a “tetanus booster,” which is administered every 10 years.

Named for the "whoop" sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell, whooping cough usually starts with flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever and a mild cough. These symptoms may be mild and brief, or last up to two weeks, but are often followed by severe coughing fits that may be associated with vomiting. Fever, if present, is usually mild.  It is treatable with antibiotics.

Whooping cough can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life-threatening complications, the most common of which is pneumonia. In adolescents and adults, rib fractures and difficulty sleeping may occur.

Including the five newest cases, there have been 37 reported cases of whooping cough in San Diego County this year. There were 143 cases in 2009.

For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (619) 692-8661, or visit the web site at www.sdiz.org.


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