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County logoTwo Whooping Cough Cases

Reported to Count

.......Vaccines Urged for Children and Adults.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) has confirmed two cases of pertussis or whooping cough, a highly contagious disease that causes severe coughing. The children had not been immunized against the disease, possibly exposing children and adults at two camps in San Diego County.

.....“It extremely important for parents to ensure that they and their children are protected against vaccine preventable diseases,” said Dean Sidelinger, M.D., M.S.Ed., County Deputy Public Health Officer. “Whooping cough is a concern because it can be passed to infants, who are at highest risk of complications and too young to be fully vaccinated with pertussis vaccine.”

....A child, 9 years of age, and a sibling, age 6, began treatment for the disease on August 9. Whooping cough is treatable with antibiotics.

....The two children were out of school but attended some activities while contagious, potentially exposing individuals with whom they had close contact. Staff members from the two locations where the children spent a prolonged time are fully cooperating with HHSA staff to notify attendees of their potential exposure to pertussis. There is no current risk for pertussis exposure at these locations. The locations are:
• August 4-8, 2008: The 9 year-old attended music and drama camp at Village Church in Rancho Santa Fe. There were more than 100 children and staff in attendance. The church has notified families and staff about the potential exposures and symptoms of whooping cough.
• July 28-Aug. 1, 2008: Both children attended the KidsGames (outdoor activities) at the North Coast Calvary Chapel. The church sent out 30 notifications - to parents and staff - of the potential exposure.

.....“KidsGames is San Diego's Church Sport Camp with 11 sites throughout the county. As soon as we received word about the children with pertussis at one of the sites, we immediately notified all children that could have been in contact with the children that have pertussis,” said Debbie Walton, Director of KidsGames of North Coast Calvary Chapel. “We will continue to serve all of the children who are part of this great ministry in San Diego," she added.

....Named for the "whoop" sound sick people sometimes make during or after a severe coughing spell, whooping cough usually starts with flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. Symptoms can last up to two weeks and may be followed by severe coughing fits and vomiting. Whooping cough can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life threatening complications, such as pneumonia, brain damage, and death. Anyone who is not immunized is at a higher risk for severe whooping cough. Individuals with symptoms of pertussis should call their health care provider.

.....The incubation period for pertussis is commonly 7–10 days, with a range of 4–21 days. It is recommended that children get five doses of DTaP vaccine, one dose at 2 mo., 4 mo., 6 mo., 15-18 mo., and 4-6 years of age. However, older people also need protection. It is recommended that people 11- 64 years of age receive a single dose of Tdap, given in place of a “tetanus booster” (Td).

....Before pertussis immunizations were available, nearly all children developed whooping cough. In the U.S., prior to pertussis immunization, between 150,000 and 260,000 cases of pertussis were reported each year, with up to 9,000 pertussis-related deaths.
Pertussis can be a severe illness, resulting in prolonged coughing spells that can last for many weeks. These spells can make it difficult for a child to eat, drink, and breathe. Because vomiting often occurs after a coughing spell, infants may lose weight and become dehydrated. In infants, it can also cause pneumonia and lead to brain damage, seizures, and mental retardation.

....The newer pertussis vaccine (acellular or DTaP) has been available for use in the United States since 1991 and has been recommended for exclusive use since 1998. These vaccines are effective. During the 1970s, widespread concerns about the safety of the older pertussis vaccine led to a rapid fall in immunization levels in the United Kingdom. More than 100,000 cases and 36 deaths due to pertussis were reported during an epidemic in the mid 1970s. In Japan, pertussis vaccination coverage fell from 80 percent in 1974 to 20 percent in 1979. An epidemic occurred in 1979, resulted in more than 13,000 cases and 41 deaths.

....Pertussis cases occur throughout the world. If we stopped pertussis immunizations in the U.S., we would experience a massive resurgence of pertussis disease. A recent study* found that, in eight countries where immunization coverage was reduced, incidence rates of pertussis surged to 10 to 100 times the rates in countries where vaccination rates were sustained.

....In 2007, there were 50 cases of pertussis reported in the county. There have been 28 cases of pertussis in San Diego County to date this year, including these two cases. For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (619) 692-8661, or visit the Web site at


Salud+HealthInfo is for information and educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for personal medical attention, diagnosis or hands-on treatment. If you are concerned abut your health or that of a child, please consult your family's physician or health provider immediately and do not try to diagnose yourself. Salud+Health Info is published and distributed free of charge by Info Option Network (ION) Publishing Company. Copyright © 2001-2006 Info Option Network

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