Local whooping cough cases more than double over 2012

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The number of pertussis cases reported in San Diego
County this year has more than doubled last year's count, but remains well
short of the epidemic year of 2010, the county Health and Human Services Agency has
reported.

A dozen new diagnoses of the disease commonly known as whooping cough
were made over the past week, bringing the local total so far this year to 334,
according to the HHSA.

That compares to 165 cases of pertussis last year. The record was 1,179
set three years ago, while 2011 brought 400 reported cases.

“Pediatricians and other providers in San Diego County are noting an
increase in pertussis cases,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public
health officer. “It's likely that activity levels will remain elevated in the
region so it's important that everyone is up-to-date on the vaccine series and
booster shot.”

The cases over the past week involved children at R. Roger Rowe School
in the Rancho Santa Fe School District; Cajon Park School in the Santee School
District; Sycamore Canyon Elementary School in the Santee School District;
Heritage Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District;
Hillsdale Middle School in the Cajon Valley Union School District; and La Jolla
Country Day School in La Jolla.

Also diagnosed with pertussis were individuals at Flying Hills
Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District, the San Onofre
Child Development Center at Camp Pendleton, Monarch School in San Diego and the
Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church Preschool.

All were up-to-date with their vaccines except for the ill person in
Rancho Bernardo, according to the HHSA.

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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that
children get vaccine doses 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 booster.
The ultimate goal is to prevent deaths that can result as a complication of
pertussis. Infants younger than a 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 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.

Categories: KUSI