San Diego, California - The number of pertussis cases reported in the region this year has surged past last year’s total, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced.

Another 102 new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, were confirmed by local health officials, bringing this year’s count to 454. In 2013, a total of 431 whooping cough cases were reported and there were only 63 cases at this point last year. There was a high of 1,179 cases reported in 2010.

In today’s alert, 21 of the new cases were reported at 19 locations where the public may have been exposed.  These cases are listed below.

“This year, a substantial increase in pertussis cases is being reported in San Diego County and throughout California,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health officer. “Parents, guardians and teachers should be vigilant for symptoms of the disease.”

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.

All of the new pertussis cases reported at the following locations were up-to-date for their age on immunizations:                                    

  • 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
  • A 14-year-old at Hilltop Middle School in the Sweetwater Union High School District
  • A 15-year-old at Mira Mesa High School in the San Diego Unified School District
  • Two 15-year-olds at Granite Hills High School in the Grossmont Union High School District
  • A 17-year-old at Scripps Ranch High School in the San Diego Unified School District