Four New Cases of Pertussis Reported

Four new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, were reported at four school sites where students and staff may have been exposed, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

“We are seeing far fewer cases here than we did in 2010, but these ill students are a reminder that whooping cough has not gone away,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer. “We encourage parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with the recommended doses of pertussis vaccine.”

The recent cases bring the total to 66 in the county so far this year. There were 165 cases reported for all of 2012 and 55 cases at this same time last year. A record 1,144 cases were reported in 2010 in the County.

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 be a result of a complication from pertussis. Infants under one year old are especially vulnerable.

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

The new pertussis cases reported this week are:

·         An 8-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Rancho De La Nacion School in the National School District. Contact: Paula Jameson-Whitney (619) 336-7742.

·         A 14-year-old who was unimmunized and attends Correia Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District. Contact: Linda Zintz (619) 725-5578.

·         A 15-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends San Dieguito High School Academy in the San Dieguito Union School District. Contact: Charles Adams (760) 753-6491 ext. 5619.

·         A 17-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District. Contact: Linda Zintz (619) 725-5578.

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