San Diego, California - Pertussis (whooping cough) cases in San Diego County number nearly 900 for the year according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Nine new cases of the disease were confirmed this week in which the public may have been exposed. The locations are listed below.

“The county and the state are experiencing an epidemic of pertussis,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Infants are at greatest risk for severe illness and death from pertussis, so we are urging parents to vaccinate their children and pregnant women to be vaccinated to protect their babies.”

There have been 895 confirmed cases of pertussis in 2014. There were only 120 cases reported at this same time last year and a total of 431 in 2013. Pertussis activity hit a record high in 2010 with 1,179 cases.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. Antibiotics can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to others.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following vaccination schedule:

· Young children need five doses of DTaP by kindergarten: at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.

· All students entering 7th grade need proof of a whooping cough booster immunization (Tdap).

· A Tdap booster is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got a booster before becoming pregnant.

· One dose of Tdap is recommended for adults 19 years of age and older who did not get Tdap as an adolescent.

Parents can obtain the DTaP vaccine series and the Tdap booster shot for themselves and their children through their primary care physicians. Local retail pharmacies offer vaccinations for a fee, and anyone who is not covered by a medical insurance plan can get the shot from a County Public Health Center at minimal or no cost.

For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.

The new pertussis cases reported at the following locations were up-to-date for their age on immunizations, except where noted:  

· A 7-year-old at Mason Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· An 8-year-old at Dailard Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· A 9-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Indian Hills Camp in Jamul.

· A 10-year-old at Normal Heights Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· An 11-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations at Lincoln Acres School in the National School District.

· A 14-year-old at Hillsdale Middle School in the Cajon Valley Union School District.

· A 15-year-old at San Ysidro High School in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

· A 16-year-old at Altus Charter School of San Diego, El Cajon Learning Center in El Cajon.

· An individual at Boys and Girls Clubs of Oceanside at 401 Country Club Lane, Oceanside.