Whooping Cough Cases Approach 300

San Diego County continues to experience a high level of pertussis (whooping cough) activity, with a nearly six-fold increase in the number of cases to date in 2014 versus this point last year according to the County’s Health and Human Services Agency.

There were 18 new cases reported this week in which others may have been exposed, bringing to 298 the total number of cases reported so far in 2014. There were only 53 cases reported by this date in 2013 and a total of 430 that year. A high of 1,179 cases was reported in 2010. The complete list of new cases is below.

“Pertussis has shown no signs of slowing down and this high level of activity should be a concern for parents and caregivers,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “The vaccine’s effectiveness lessens over time so it’s very important that adults get their booster shots and that they make sure their children have the necessary doses of the vaccine at the recommended ages.”

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.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following vaccination schedule:

· Young children need five doses of DTaP by kindergarten: at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.

· All students entering 7th grade need proof of a whooping cough booster immunization (Tdap).

· A Tdap booster is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got a booster before becoming pregnant.

· One dose of Tdap is recommended for adults 19 years of age and older who did not get Tdap as an adolescent.

Parents can obtain the DTaP 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 minimal or no cost.

For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit

All of the new pertussis cases reported at the following locations (except one as noted) were up-to-date for their age on immunizations: 

· A 3-year-old at Kids’ Care Club Child Development Center in San Diego

· A 4-year-old at Saint John’s Episcopal Parish Day School in Chula Vista

· A 4-year-old at Audubon K-8 School in the San Diego Unified School District

· A 5-year-old at Maryland Elementary School in the Vista Unified School District

· A 6-year-old at North Terrace Elementary School in the Oceanside Unified School District

· A 7-year-old at Foussat Elementary School in the Oceanside Unified School District

· A 9-year-old at Florence Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District

· A 9-year-old at Olivewood Elementary School in the National School District

· An 11-year-old at San Miguel Elementary School in the Lemon Grove School District

· An 11-year-old at Santa Fe Christian Schools in Solana Beach

· A 13-year-old at High Tech Middle North County in San Marcos

· A 13-year-old at Lemon Grove Academy 7-8 in the Lemon Grove School District

· A 13-year-old at Twin Peaks Middle School in the Poway Unified School District

· A 14-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Mt. Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District

· A 14-year-old at Oak Valley Middle School in the Poway Unified School District

· A 15-year-old at Carmel Valley Middle School in San Dieguito Union High School District

· An individual at the Islamic School of San Diego

· An individual at Rancho San Diego Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District

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