Health

Five New Cases of Pertussis Reported

Five new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported at area schools this week according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

There have been 216 cases of pertussis reported in the county so far this year, compared to last year’s total of 165 cases. There were 133 cases reported by this date in 2012.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get doses of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years. Health officials also recommend that preteens and adults get a Tdap booster. The ultimate goal is to prevent deaths that can result as a complication of pertussis. Infants under one-year-old are especially vulnerable because they do not have the full five-dose series of pertussis vaccinations.

Parents can obtain the vaccine series and the Tdap booster shot for themselves and their children through their primary care physicians. Local retail pharmacies offer vaccinations for a fee, and anyone who is not covered by a medical insurance plan can get the shot from a County Public Health Center at no cost.

A typical case of pertussis 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 ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.

The new pertussis cases reported this week are:

·         A 6-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends The Language Academy in the San Diego Unified School District.

·         A 7-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Maryland Avenue Elementary School in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

·         A 13-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Halecrest Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

·         A 15-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends The Bishop’s School in La Jolla.

·         A 15-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Torrey Pines High School in the San Dieguito Union High School District.

Tom Christensen is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact