Pertussis Cases for 2013 Hit 400 Mark


Seven new cases of pertussis that may have exposed others in the county to the disease have been reported to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Details of the new cases are listed below.

This brings the number of cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, reported in the county in 2013 to 400. Cases are reported from the date of symptom onset, so cases from last year are still being reported. There are four confirmed cases in 2014. There were 165 cases reported in 2012 and a recent high of 1,179 cases in 2010.

“Being up-to-date on your pertussis vaccine series and booster shot is the best way to help stop the spread of the disease,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer.

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. Antibiotics can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to others. Deaths can result as a complication of pertussis.

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. Infants younger than 1-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.

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 at the following locations were up-to-date for their age on immunizations:

· A 5-year-old at First Presbyterian Church Preschool in Oceanside.

· A 5-year-old at Temple Heights Elementary School in the Vista Unified School District.

· A 7-year-old at Mt. Helix Academy in La Mesa.     

· A 13-year-old at Valley Middle School in the Carlsbad Unified School District.

· A 17-year-old at Classical Academy High School in Escondido.

· An individual at Naval Base Point Loma Child Development Center.

· An individual at Children’s Villages Child Development Center in Carlsbad.

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