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Number of cases approaches 500 countywide as epidemic grows


September 8, 2010 (San Diego) -- County Health and Human Services Agency officials report  495 confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in 2010—triple the number last year. Today, the County announced dozens of new cases, including three in East County.


The new East County cases are 8-year-old at Sweetwater Springs Elementary School, an 8-year-old at Lemon Avenue Elementary School, and an adult who was at Sharp Rees Stealy Pediatric Clinic in the Grossmont Medical Plaza in La Mesa.


One disturbing fact is that all three of the East County cases involved patients who had been fully immunized, as did last week’s case of whooping cough in an Alpine 5-year-old at Boulder Oaks Elementary School. However the County continues to recommend that adults and children make sure that their vaccinations and boosters are up to date.


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.


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. To hear what whooping cough sounds like, click Fever, if present, is usually mild. The disease is treatable with antibiotics.


Vaccinations are available from your healthcare provider, or for those without insurance, through County clinics included a clinic at 855 East Madison in El Cajon.


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