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Whooping Cough Cases Still Rising

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March 16, 2011

Two new cases of pertussis where others may have been exposed to the disease were reported at two schools this past week, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

The new cases bring the total number of cases for the county to 128 for this year. New cases are listed below.

“Parents can protect their children by ensuring that they are up-to-date with their immunizations,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “Another way to reduce the spread of the disease is by encouraging  healthy habits such as frequent hand washing and covering coughs.”

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, reached epidemic status and a new county record with 1,144 cases including two infant deaths in 2010.

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

The new pertussis cases reported this week are:

•         A 9-year-old and who was not up-to-date on immunizations and attends Central Elementary School in the Escondido Union School District. 

•         A 6-month-old who was due for an immunization shot and attends Murphy Canyon Child Development Center, a U.S. Navy facility. 


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