6 whooping cough cases reported at San Pasqual High School in Escondido

Posted at 2:16 PM, Dec 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-14 17:16:39-05

SAN DIEGO - San Diego County health officials Wednesday confirmed six cases of whooping cough at San Pasqual High School in Escondido.

County Health and Human Services officials said the six pertussis cases were not hospitalized and all were up-to-date on their immunizations.

No further details on the six cases were immediately disclosed.

Officials said there have been 340 whooping cough cases in the county so far in 2016.

The San Pasqual High cases are the first reported cluster of pertussis cases at a school in the county during this academic year.

"Although there have been fewer reports of pertussis this year compared to recent years, activity from this highly contagious disease tends to go in cycles and peaks every three to four years," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "That's why it's important for everyone to be up to date with their vaccinations, especially pregnant women."

Pregnant women and people who come into close contact with infants should be vaccinated, because newborns are especially susceptible to pertussis since they are too young to be fully vaccinated. A 5-week-old San Diego infant died from pertussis in July, the first death from the highly contagious disease in the county since 2010, officials said.

Health officials said 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.