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Whooping Cough Cases Continue in County

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March 22, 2011

San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency officials report three more cases of pertussis this week where possible public exposure may have occurred.  School details are listed below.

“Getting vaccinated is the best defense against pertussis,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “Parents should make sure their children are immunized and they should make sure they have had their booster shot, especially if they come into contact with infants.”

There have been 147 confirmed cases of pertussis reported in 2011. The County set a new record with 1,144 cases 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

This week’s cases are:

  • A 3-year-old who was not up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Sanderling Waldorf School in Encinitas. 
  • A 3-year-old who was up-to-date on vaccinations and attends Mission Montessori Preschool in Oceanside. 
  • An 11-year-old who was unimmunized and attends Monterey Heights Elementary School in the Lemon Grove School District.


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