Local Pertussis Cases Surge Over Last Year’s Numbers

Health officials say the number of pertussis cases reported this year so far have already surpassed the total number of cases reported in the county for all of last year

By Monica Garske
|  Wednesday, May 28, 2014  |  Updated 3:56 AM PDT
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Pertussis Cases Surge in San Diego

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More than 100 new cases of pertussis have been reported across San Diego County – far more than the number of cases reported at this same time last year, according to local health officials.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) said a total of 454 cases of whooping cough have been reported in the region thus far, this year, indicating a notable surge.

In 2013, a total of 431 cases were reported across the county for the entire year. The HHSA said that at this point last year, only 63 pertussis cases had been reported in San Diego County. In 2010, the was a high of 1,179 cases reported in the county.

According to health officials, 21 of the most recent cases were reported at 19 locations where the public may have been exposed. This includes the following:

• A person at Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, San Pasqual
• A person at First Baptist Church of El Cajon
• A 9-year-old at Doyle Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District
• A 9-year-old at Juniper Elementary School in the Escondido Union School District
• A 9-year-old at San Pasqual Union Elementary School in the San Pasqual Union School District
• A 9-year-old and an 11-year-old at Hill Creek Elementary in the Santee School District
• A 10-year-old at Central Elementary School in the Escondido Union School District
• A 10-year-old at Juarez-Lincoln Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District
• A 10-year-old at Silver Gate Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District
• A 10-year-old at Ocean View Hills School in the San Ysidro School District
• A 14-year-old at Christian High School, a private school in El Cajon
• An 11-year-old at Black Mountain Middle School in the Poway Unified School District
• An 11-year-old at John Otis School in the National School District
• A 12-year-old at St. Patrick Catholic School, a private school in Carlsbad
• A 13-year-old at Bernardo Heights Middle School in the Poway School District

County public health officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., said there has been a “substantial increase” in pertussis cases being reported in San Diego and throughout California this year.

“Parents, guardians and teachers should be vigilant for symptoms of the disease,” Wooten added.

Health officials say pertussis symptoms include a cough and runny rose for one or two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. A mild fever may also arise.

Although health officials say infants under one year old are especially vulnerable to whooping cough, anyone can get the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children should get doses of the DtaP vaccine at the ages of two months, four months, six months, 15 to 18 months and four to six years. The CDC also recommends that preteens and adults get a Tdap booster shot.

The disease is treatable with antibiotics, which can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to others.

For more information about whooping cough and local vaccination clinics, visit this website or call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966.

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