SAN DIEGO–A 10-year-old student who attends Blossom Valley Elementary School in the Cajon Valley Union School District has been diagnosed with pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, according to the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The child was up-to-date with age-appropriate immunizations, and not yet eligible for a Tdap booster shot.
HHSA is working closely with officials at the school district to notify staff and parents of all students who were potentially exposed.
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. It is also recommended that people 11- 64 years of age receive a one-time dose of Tdap, given in place of a “tetanus booster,” which is administered every 10 years.
Named for the “whoop” sound children and adults sometimes make when they try to breathe in 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. These symptoms may be mild and brief, or last up to two weeks, but are often followed by severe coughing fits that may be associated with vomiting. Fever, if present, is usually mild. It is treatable with antibiotics.
Whooping cough can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of life-threatening complications, the most common of which is pneumonia. In adolescents and adults, rib fractures and difficulty sleeping may occur.
There have been 38 reported cases of whooping cough in San Diego County this year. There were 143 cases in 2009.
For more information about whooping cough, please call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (619) 692-8661, or visit the web site at www.sdiz.org.