Six New Cases of Whooping Cough

Six 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.

This brings the number of cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, reported in the county in 2013 to 389. Cases are reported from the date of symptom onset, so cases from last year are still being reported. So far, there are four confirmed cases in 2014. There were 165 cases reported in 2012 and a recent high of 1,179 cases in 2010.


“Pertussis is highly infectious and can cause serious complications, especially in infants,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “It's important to protect your family, classmates and others by ensuring that everyone in your family is up-to-date on the pertussis vaccine series and booster shot.”


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 with one exception:


·         A 10-year-old at Johnson Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District. Contact: Linda Zintz 619-725-5568.

·         A 15-year-old at Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley. Contact: Eileen Poole, 619-660-3512.

·         A 16-year-old at Mt. Carmel High School in the Poway Unified School District. Contact: Jessica Wakefield, 858-521-2707.    

·         A 16-year-old at High Tech High International in San Diego. Contact: Karen Lowe, 619-398-4901.

·         An individual with unknown immunization status at County of San Diego Juvenile Hall in Kearny Mesa. Contact: Craig Stover, 858-694-4500.

·         An individual at Del Mar Highlands KinderCare Learning Center. Contact: Colleen Moran, 503-872-1631.


Categories: KUSI