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Three Diagnosed with Whooping Cough

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child medical

May 6, 2010

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) is reporting the following individuals have been diagnosed with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough:

  • An 11-month-old who attends Rancho Carrillo KinderCare in Carlsbad
  • An individual at the San Diego French-American School in La Jolla
  • A 7-year-old student who attends Capri Elementary School in the Encinitas School District

Both children were up-to-date with their immunizations. 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.

 “The children had received all age-appropriate vaccines for pertussis,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Children between the ages of 6 and 11 may be at risk because immunity sometimes wanes over time. It’s critical that children have the necessary vaccinations to protect themselves and others, and for parents to remember to bring their children in for a booster shot at age 11.”

HHSA is working closely with the schools and child care center to notify staff and parents of all students who were potentially exposed.

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.

There have been 49 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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