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Vaccination, Booster Shot Best Defense, County Officials Say

East County News Service


September 29, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- Thirteen new pertussis (whooping cough) cases where other children may have been exposed were reported this week in San Diego County, including six in East County, according to County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials today.


There have been 631 confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, reported in 2010. There were 143 cases in all of 2009 and the previous high for the county was 371 cases in 2005.


“People should visit their primary care physician for their immunizations or booster shots,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “If a person does not have a primary care physician he or she can visit one of our County’s Public Health Centers to get vaccinated.”


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children get one dose of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 months; 4 months; 6 months; 15 to 18 months and 4 to 6 years.


The CDC also recommends that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine at 10-11 yrs. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recommends an adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccine (Tdap) for everyone 10 years or older who has not yet received it, especially women of childbearing age, before, during, or immediately after pregnancy; and other people, including household contacts, caregivers, and health care workers, who have contact with pregnant women or infants.


Children 7-9 years of age who did not receive all of their routine childhood shots are recommended to receive a Tdap booster dose.


"No vaccine is 100 percent effective and immunity can wane over time, but being up-to-date on your vaccinations can lessen the severity of illness-related symptoms," Tom Christensen, communications specialist with the County, said when asked why a significant number of cases have occurred in people who were listed as up to date on their vaccinations.


A typical case of pertussis in children and adults 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.




For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch toll-free at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at www.sdiz.org.


This week’s new pertussis cases where there is a potential for public exposure include several in East County. Those are:


• A 6-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Fletcher Hills Elementary School in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

• A 7-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Fletcher Elementary School in the San Diego Unified School District.

• A 13-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends Bonita Vista Middle School in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

• A 15-year-old who was not up-to-date on immunizations and attends Steele Canyon High School in Spring Valley.

• A 16-year-old who was not up-to-date on immunizations and attends Del Norte High School in the Poway Unified School District.

• A 17-year-old who was up-to-date on immunizations and attends West View High School in the Poway Unified School District.