The 2014 number of pertussis cases has nearly doubled last year’s total in San Diego County, according to new data from the county Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA).
Health officials warn seven new whooping cough cases popped up last week in places where the public may have been exposed, bringing the 2014 total up to 759 confirmed cases.
Last year, HHSA workers confirmed just 431 cases. If the whooping cough epidemic continues to grow, it could break 2010’s record high of 1,179 cases in the county.
San Diego's trends are tracking closely with those seen statewide. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) reports that 1,100 new cases have been seen across the state in the last two weeks.
That means 4,558 people reported whooping cough symptoms this year alone, compared to last year’s 2,532 total cases. One more infant has also died, bringing the total infant deaths to three.
CDPH officials announced last week that the pertussis cases have officially reached epidemic proportions.
The seven most recent patients in San Diego County may have exposed others at the following locations:
- A 7-year-old and 10-year-old at Riverview Elementary School in the Lakeside Union School District
- A 7-year-old at Rios Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District
- A 10-year-old at Innovation Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District
- A 13-year-old at Our Lady’s School in San Diego
- A person at Charley Brown Children’s Center in La Mesa
- A person at Fisher Children’s Center at Camp Pendleton
All patients were all up-to-date for their age on pertussis immunizations, HHSA officials say.
“Parents should remain vigilant for signs of whooping cough to help prevent the spread of this disease,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Everyone should be up-to-date on their vaccinations and booster shot.
In a typical case, pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, and then the patient develops rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with the distinctive “whooping” sound.
Antibiotics can make the symptoms less severe and prevent the spread of the disease.