Health

Five New Cases of Pertussis Reported in Region

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 227 cases of pertussis reported in the county so far this year, compared to last year’s total of 165 cases. There were 139 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 Empresa Elementary in the Vista Unified School District.

·         An 11-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Howard Pence Elementary School in the South Bay Union School District.

·         A 12-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Vista Magnet Middle School in the Vista Unified School District.

·         A 16-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends High Tech High Chula Vista.

·         A 16-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends St. Augustine High School in San Diego.

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