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County Whooping Cough Cases Surpass 2009 Totals

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July 14, 2010

Thirteen new cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, have pushed the region past last year’s total number of local cases. Although still significantly short of the peak level of 371 cases in 2005, the 2010 total of 183 cases surpasses last year’s total of 143, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency.  (This week's cases).

"California has declared a statewide whooping cough epidemic,” said Dean Sideliner, M.D., M.S Ed., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “We are seeing increased activity here in San Diego County and its important for parents to be aware of the prevalence of pertussis in our community right now.

“We alerted the local healthcare community about the increased cases and are providing guidance about pertussis prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. 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."  

  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 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. The CDC is also recommending 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.  Again, no vaccine is 100 percent effective and immunity can wane over time, but being up-to-date on your vaccinations can lessen the severity of illness-related symptoms.  A possible expansion of the age recommendations is being considered at the state and federal level. As more information is available, HHSA will inform the community. 

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.

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

 This week’s cases are:

  • A 4-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends the Magdalena Ecke YMCA Preschool in Encintas. Last day of school was June 24.
  • A 7-year-old who was not up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Skyline Elementary School in the Solana Beach School District, which is currently in summer session. 
  • An 8-year-old who was not up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Hanalei Elementary School in the Vista Unified School District. The last day of school was June 16.         
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends the Calvin Christian School Summer Camp, which is currently in session. 
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Spreckels Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. The last day of school was June 21.
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and is a student at Dance Unlimited in Oceanside. 
  • A 9-year-old who was unimmunized and attends Jamul Primary School in the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District. The last day of school was June 15. 
  • A 10-year-old who was unimmunized and attends Jamul Intermediate School in the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District. The last day of school was June 15. 
  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-dateon vaccinations and attends the Knox K-8 Preparatory School in the San Diego Unified School District, which is currently in session. 
  • An 11-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Christa McAuliffe Elementary School in the Oceanside Unified School District. The last day of school was June 15. 
  • An 11-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Magnolia Elementary School in the Carlsbad Unified School District. The last day of school was June 17.
  • An 11-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends the Albert Einstein Academy in the San Diego Unified School District. The last day of school was June 21.
  • A 12-year-old who was up-to-dateon vaccinations and attends St. Patrick’s School in North Park. The last day of school was June 16.

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