San Diego Whooping Cough Cases Reach Record High

The number of pertussis, or whooping cough, cases in San Diego County has reached a record high, surpassing the previous all-time high that occurred four years ago, health officials said Wednesday.

The number of confirmed cases here has hit 1,183, compared to the number of cases in all of 2010, which was 1,179, according to a news release from the San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency.

While whooping cough has been especially pervasive throughout California, San Diego’s number of cases is slightly more than double the state’s rate per 100,000 people.

“Pertussis activity tends to go in cycles and peaks every three to four years,” County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said in a statement. “We are working with local health care professionals and educators to stress the need for everyone to be up to date with their vaccinations and for pregnant women to get vaccinated.”

No pertussis-related deaths have been reported in San Diego, though there have been three baby deaths this year statewide.

Children and teens seem to be hit the most hard. Nearly half of San Diego's cases are teens between 13 and 18.

It’s especially important for pregnant women and infants to get vaccinated, as newborns and unborn infants are especially susceptible to whooping cough.

Pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of coughing fits marked by a "whooping" sound.

For information on where to find a vaccination clinic, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at 866-358-2966 or go here.

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