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Whooping Cough Cases Jump to 55

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February 10, 2011

Children under one year of age are at greater risk for contracting pertussis or whooping cough.

To protect them, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency will offer families and caretakers free pertussis booster shots this weekend at the region’s six Northgate markets.

In the last week, two more confirmed cases of whooping cough occurred at schools where others may have been exposed to the highly contagious disease. Please see second page for school details.

The number of pertussis cases in the region jumped to 55 in 2011. Last year, whooping cough cases reached a record-high of 1,140 which included two infant deaths.

“This will be the last weekend the one-time pertussis booster vaccine will be given at Northgate markets,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “However, parents can vaccinate themselves, and their children, at their primary care physician’s office or a public health center if they don’t have a 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

The new pertussis cases reported this week are:

  • An 11-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Bear Valley Middle School in the Escondido Union School District. 
  • A 4-year-old who was due for a fifth dose of DTaP and attends La Costa Valley Preschool and Kindergarten, a private school in Carlsbad.

Free Vaccines

Free pertussis vaccines for individuals who have contact with children under one year of age are available this weekend at local Northgate markets from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the following locations:

  • 2909 Coronado Ave., San Diego, 92154
  • 1410 S. 43rd St., San Diego, 92113
  • 1058 3rd Ave., Chula Vista, 91911
  • 606 N. Escondido Blvd., Escondido, 92025
  • 1150 E. Vista Way, Vista, 92084
  • 1346 S. Mission Rd., Fallbrook, 92028


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