San Diego County’s pertussis case total is now 205 with seven new cases where others may have been exposed to the disease, commonly known as whooping cough, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported.  Among the new cases is a diagnosis in a  12-year-old who was due for a booster shot and a 14-year-old who was up-to-date with immunizations and attend St. Michael’s School in Poway.

In 2010, there were a record 1,144 pertussis cases in the county, including two infant deaths.

“Pertussis continues to spread in our community especially among those who have not been fully immunized,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Immunizations help protect children from whooping cough. Parents should check with their pediatrician to make sure their child is up-to-date with immunizations, including the pertussis booster shot if they are entering 7th to 12th grade this fall to comply with the new school law.”

Residents can get vaccinated at their primary care doctor or at an HHSA Public Health Center if they don’t have a regular healthcare provider.

The California Department of Public Health recommends a 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 healthcare 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.

The Centers for Disease Control (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. Children should receive a Tdap booster shot at 11-12 years of age. Beginning July 1, all students in 7th through 12th grade, in public and private schools, must show proof that they had the pertussis booster shot before they return to school.

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. The disease is treatable with antibiotics. For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit the web site at

Among the other new pertussis cases where there is a potential for public exposure are:

•         An 11-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends San Miguel Elementary in the Lemon Grove  School District.

•         A 4-month-old who was due for a second immunization and attends Vine Learning Center in San Diego.

•         A 15-year-old who was due for a booster shot and attends Point Loma High School in the San Diego Unified School District.

•         A 10-year-old who was up-to-date with immunizations and attends The Rhoades School in Encinitas.

•         A 53-year-old who was up-to-date with immunizations at Alvarado Hospital.