Whooping cough reported in San Diego County schools, students and staff exposed

Recommend vaccines for kids, booster for adults

SAN DIEGO - Four cases of whooping cough were reported at four San Diego County school sites, and students and staff may have been exposed, San Diego County health officials said Friday.

According to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, cases of whooping cough reported this week were a vaccinated 8-year-old who attends Rancho De La Nacion School in National City; a 14-year-old student at Correia Middle School in San Diego who was not vaccinated; a vaccinated 15-year-old at San Dieguito High School Academy in Encinitas; and a vaccinated 17-year-old who attends Patrick Henry High School in San Diego.

This year, 66 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has been reported in San Diego County. Last year, 165 cases were reported, and a record 1,144 cases of the contagious respiratory illness were reported in 2010, according to the HHSA.

"We are seeing far fewer cases here than we did in 2010, but these ill students are a reminder that whooping cough has not gone away," county Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said. "We encourage parents to make sure their children are up-to-date with the recommended doses of pertussis vaccine."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get doses of DTaP vaccine at ages two months, four months, six months, 15 to 18 months and four to six years. Health officials also recommend that preteens and adults get a Tdap booster.

According to the HHSA, retail pharmacies offer vaccinations for a fee, and anyone without medical insurance can get the shot from a county public health center at no cost.

Pertussis usually starts with one to two weeks with a cough and runny nose followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild, according to county health officials, who added that the disease is treatable with antibiotics.

 

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