The spread of the persistent whooping cough – also known as pertussis – continues in San Diego County as health officials confirmed ten new cases in the past week.
Even more may have been exposed, according to the county’s Health and Human Services Agency.
The confirmed cases bring the county’s total up to 198 so far this year, compared to only 39 this time last year.
All the new whooping cough cases were among children who were up-to-date on their vaccinations:
- An infant at Kid’s Place Child Watch at the Mission Valley YMCA on Friars Road
- A 3-year-old at La Jolla Presbyterian Church Preschool in La Jolla
- A 5-year-old at Franklin Elementary School in San Diego Unified School District
- An 8-year-old at Vista Grande Elementary School in Cajon Valley Union School District in El Cajon
- A 13-year-old at Black Mountain Middle School
- A 14-year-old at Patrick Henry High School
- A 16-year-old at Hoover High School
- A 17-year-old at Mt. Everest Academy
- A 17-year-old at Rancho Bernardo High School
- A 17-year-old at Canyon Crest Academy
Throughout all of 2013, 430 pertussis cases were reported, and a high of 1,179 were reported 2010.
“It is extremely important that parents, caregivers and educators observe their children for symptoms of the disease so that those who are infected can get treatment immediately and don’t infect others,” said public health officer Wilma Wooten.
Signs of whooping cough start with a cough and runny nose for at least one week. That’s followed by weeks or months of rapid coughing fits that end with the distinctive whooping sound. Antibiotics can help with symptoms and prevent it from being spread.
Wooten also recommends that all parents or guardians make sure their children are up-to-date on their whooping cough vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent recommend that children get DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine doses at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months and 4 to 6 years. Beyond that, preteens and adults can get a Tdap booster.
The sickness presents a bigger risk to infants, who have not received the full series of doses.