Parents among others are being warned by county health officials of an increase in pertussis, or whooping cough, cases compared to this time last year.
On Friday, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported ten new cases of pertussis where others in the county may have been exposed to the disease.
This brings the total of cases reported so far this year to 154, a large increase compared to the only 33 reported cases during the same time last year.
The ten new cases affected children between the ages of two and 13-years-old.
Pertussis usually begins with a cough or runny nose that lasts for one to two weeks and is followed by months of rapid coughing fits that will sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fevers can also occur and are usually mild.
It’s said that antibiotics can help reduce the severity of pertussis symptoms and also prevent the spread of disease to others.
Infants younger than 1-years-old are especially vulnerable to pertussis as they have yet to receive the full five-dose series of pertussis vaccinations.
Health officials urged locals, especially children, to obtain recommended vaccines.
“We’re seeing a very high level of pertussis activity throughout San Diego County,” Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer, said in a media release. “Parents, caregivers and educators should be on the lookout for symptoms so those with pertussis get treatment so they don’t infect others.”
To help prevent pertussis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children receive doses of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years.
Preteens and adults are encouraged to get a Tdap booster.
Both the DTaP vaccine series and the Tdap booster can be obtained for parents and their children from primary care physicians or local retail pharmacies. The County Public Health Center also offers both for little to no cost to those not covered by a medical insurance plan.
A total of 430 pertussis cases were reported in 2013, 165 in 2012 and a recent high of 1,179 in 2010.
For more information about vaccination clinics, visit the San Diego Immunization Program website.