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Whooping Cough Cases Now Double Previous High

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October 27, 2010

The County’s record high number of pertussis cases from 2005 has now doubled this year despite a state and local community outreach campaign urging residents to vaccinate themselves and their children.

Thirteen new cases where other children may have been exposed to pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, were reported in the past week, County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials announced today. The new cases bring the total number of confirmed pertussis cases for this year to 743, more than five times last year’s rate of 143 cases. The County’s record rate was 371 confirmed cases in 2005.

Hear what whooping cough sounds like“Two infants in San Diego County have died from pertussis. This is a potentially deadly infection for infants under the age of six months, and therefore we need to make sure all the people who would come in contact with the baby are vaccinated,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.

Local health officials are assisting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  to identify persons with cough illnesses who are contacts of confirmed pertussis cases for a Pertussis Clinical Validation Study.

Furthermore, the County will be offering free flu and Tdap vaccinations in El Cajon and Chula Vista on Nov. 5. The vaccinations will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 East Douglas Avenue in El Cajon. In Chula Vista, they will be offered from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the HHSA South Region Family Resource Center, 690 Oxford Street. Residents can also visit their primary care doctors or stop in an HHSA Public Health Center.

The 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 and the pertussis study, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at www.sdiz.org.

This week’s new pertussis cases where there is a potential for public exposure are:

  • A 2-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends All Saints Preschool in Vista. 
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Miramar Ranch Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 2-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends MCRD Child Development Center in San Diego. 
  • An 8-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Magnolia Elementary School in the Carlsbad Unified School District. 
  • A 17-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Poway High School in the Poway Unified School District. 
  • A 15-year-old who was not up-to-date on immunizations and attends Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 5-year-old who was not up-to-date on immunizations and attends Walker Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 20-month-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Little Steps Christian Preschool in La Jolla. 
  • A 7-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Central Elementary School in the South Bay Union School District. 
  • A 13-month-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Montessori East County Preschool in Lakeside. 
  • A 4-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Hickory Head Start in Escondido. 
  • A 7-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Creekside Elementary School in the Poway Unified School District. 
  • A 3-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Knox Elementary School PreK program in the San Diego Unified School District. 
  • A 9-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Zamorano Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.  

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