New cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported at three school sites where students and staff may have been exposed, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reported today.
The recent cases bring the total to 125 in the county so far this year. There were 165 cases reported in 2012, with 84 cases at this same time last year.
“Back to school time is in full swing for most children and this is a great time to remind parents that in addition to things like pens, notebooks and school clothes they should make sure their children have the necessary vaccinations including the recommended doses of the pertussis vaccine before they head back into classrooms,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., county public health officer.
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:
· An 8-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Nestor Language Academy in the South Bay Union School District. Contact: Erin Lane (619) 628-1660.
· A 4-year-old who was up-to-date with vaccinations and attends Leucadia Children’s School, Inc., in Leucadia. Contact Cathy Strother (760) 753-8084.
· A 2-year-old who was unvaccinated and attends My Room to Grow Preschool in Poway. Contact: Marina Sragovicz (858) 779-4826.