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County Whooping Cough Cases Continue to Mount

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December 22, 2010

There are six new cases of pertussis reported this week where possible public exposure occurred, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency today.

“It is very important that both adolescents and adults -- especially those who take care of or have children in the home – get their booster shot to help decrease the spread of this vaccine-preventable disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “People only need to get one pertussis booster shot as an adult, but it’s important that they get it. It’s the best defense against spreading whooping cough.”

There have been 1,083 confirmed cases of pertussis reported in 2010. There were 143 cases in all of 2009 and the previous high for the county was 371 cases in 2005.

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.

A 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                   

New Cases

This week’s cases are:

  • An 18-month-old who was due for a fourth DTaP vaccination and attends Pepper Tree Montessori School in Oceanside.
  • A 5-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Del Mar Hills Nursery School. 
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Miller Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 13-year-old who was due for a booster shoot and attends the Creative Performing Media Arts Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 13-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Saint John’s Episcopal School in Chula Vista. 
  • A 17-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends West Hills High School in the Grossmont Union High School District.

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