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Fewer Whooping Cough Cases in Schools

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April 13, 2011

The number of confirmed pertussis cases in the region increased by four this past week bringing this year’s total to 169, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

Two cases of whooping cough, as the illness is commonly called, occurred in schools where others may have been exposed to the contagious disease.  Specific school information is listed below.

“While pertussis cases have lessened in recent weeks across the county, the agency continues to recommend that children and adults with close contact to young children get immunized,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “The vaccine can make a difference in preventing the ongoing spread of the disease.”

Residents can get vaccinated at their primary care doctor or at an HHSA Public Health Center if they don’t have a regular healthcare provider.

The California Department of Public Health recommends a 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.

Beginning July 1, all students entering 7th through 12th grades in both public and private schools must show proof that they have had a Tdap booster shot before they can start school. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine at 11-12 yrs.

The CDC also 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.

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 at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at    

New Cases

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

  • An 8-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Fuerte Elementary School in the Cajon Valley School District. 
  • A 10-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Dingeman Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.