Five new cases of pertussis – also known as whopping cough – have been reported in San Diego County, and health officials say others may have been exposed.
In all the new cases, each infant or teen was up–to-date for their age on immunizations that should prevent whooping cough, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
An infant contracted the disease at the Naval Air Station North Island Child Development Center, and another baby got it at Olivenhain Country Preschool in Encinitas.
The other cases were among three 15-year-olds at James Madison High School, University City High School and Steele Canyon High School.
So far this year, 139 cases of pertussis have been reported in the county, compared to 31 by this time last year.
A total of 430 cases were reported in 2013, 165 in 2012 and a recent high of 1,179 in 2010.
Symptoms include a cough and runny nose for the first week or two, followed by weeks to months of coughing fits that end with the characteristic whooping sound.
“Pertussis continues to infect infants and children throughout San Diego County and it is important that they, as well as their caretakers and household contacts, obtain the recommended vaccines,” said County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten.
If you or your child contracts it, antibiotics can lessen the severity of the symptoms and prevent it from spreading.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine doses at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.
Preteens and adults can get a Tdap booster shot.
For more information about vaccination clinics, visit the San Diego Immunization Program website.