- Category: Health
- Created on Sunday, 28 October 2012 19:29
San Diego, California - Four children at different schools contracted pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and may have exposed others to the highly contagious respiratory disease, according to County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials. Parents who suspect their children may have been exposed should contact their primary care physician.
The cases are:
- a 9-year-old from Riverview Elementary School in the Lakeside Union School District;
- an 11-year-old from Lakeside Middle School in the Lakeside Union School District;
- a 7-year-old from Laura Rodriguez Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District; and
- an 8-year-old from Park Dale Lane Elementary School in the Encinitas Union School District.
All four students were up-to-date with the pertussis vaccine.
Parents can obtain the 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 no cost.
“Pertussis causes illness in San Diego County throughout the year. The disease is spread by coughing or sneezing in close contact with others,” said Eric McDonald, M.D., M.P.H., County deputy public health officer. “The vaccine series and booster doses are the best protection against pertussis.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get doses of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. Health officials also recommend that preteens and adults get a Tdap booster. The ultimate goal is to prevent death that can result as a complication of pertussis. Infants under one year old are especially vulnerable.
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. The disease is treatable with antibiotics.
There have been 113 whooping cough cases reported in San Diego County to date this year. A total of 400 pertussis cases were reported locally in 2011.
For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit www.sdiz.org.