San Diego, California - Pertussis (whooping cough) activity in San Diego County continues at an increased rate in 2014, with 87 new cases confirmed this week according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

Eight new cases of the highly contagious respiratory disease were confirmed in which the public may have been exposed. The locations are listed below.

“Pertussis activity in both the state and county is not slowing down,” said Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Vaccination is the best defense against pertussis and getting the Tdap booster shot and other routine vaccinations should be an important part of your back-to-school preparations.

“A Tdap booster shot is required for all students entering 7th grade.”

The total number of pertussis cases reported in 2014 now stands at 982. There were only 121 pertussis 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:

· A 9-year-old at Birney Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· A 9-year-old at Literacy First Charter School in El Cajon.

· An 11-year-old at Bell Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· An 11-year-old at Boone Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· An 11-year-old at YMCA Camp Marston in Julian.

· A 13-year-old at Correia Middle School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· A 15-year-old at Patrick Henry High School in the San Diego Unified School District.

· A 15-year-old at Poway High School in the Poway Unified School District.