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Six More Children Diagnosed with Whooping Cough

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August 11, 2010

The number of pertussis cases keeps rising in San Diego County as six more children have been diagnosed with whooping cough - the common name for the disease - the County Health and Human Services Agency is reporting today.  (New cases listed below.)

“Whooping cough continues to have a strong presence in our community,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “It is extremely important for parents to make sure their children have received all recommended pertussis vaccinations.”

Wooten also recommends that family members with young infants at home and caregivers not only get vaccinated to protect themselves, but also to protect their children, especially infants who are most likely to suffer severe complications from the disease.

A month-old died last month. To date, there have been 19 hospitalizations due to complications from whooping cough; 15 were babies 6-months or younger. Even infants that may have started their series of whooping cough shots are not adequately protected until they have had their third shot at 6 months of age. Furthermore, immunity from pertussis, even if you are vaccinated, can lessen over time and no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get one dose of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months; 4 months; 6 months; 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.

The CDC also recommends that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine at 10-11 yrs. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy; and other people, including household contacts, caregivers, and health care workers, who have contact with pregnant women or infants.

Children 7-9 years of age who did not receive all of their routine childhood shots are recommended to receive a Tdap booster dose.

San Diego County has had 336 cases of pertussis reported in 2010. Last year, there were 143 cases. The previous highest number of cases was 371 in 2005.

Hear what whooping cough sounds likeA typical case of pertussis in children and adults 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. The disease is treatable with antibiotics.  

For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch toll-free at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at

This week’s new cases are:

  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attended Gateways Summer School from June 28 through July 15, 2010 and Grace Chinese School until August 3, 2010. 
  • A 5-year-old who was up-to-date with immunizations and attends Finney Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District. 
  • A 6-year-old who was up-to-date attends Out-of-School Time Programs in the Santee School District. 
  • A 10-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations and attended Adobe Bluffs Elementary Extended Studies Services in the Poway Unified School District from July 12 through August 2, 2010 and Forest Home: Mill Creek Canyon Adventure Mountain Camp July 18-23, 2010. 
  • A 3-year-old who was not immunized and attends Shantivanam Children’s Community, a private preschool in Encinitas.
  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-date with immunizations and attended Jamul Community Church Vacation Bible School July 19-23, 2010.

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