Health

Airport possibly exposed to whooping cough

SAN DIEGO — A 4-month-old child who was on a flight that departed from Lindbergh Field last Friday may have exposed fellow travelers to pertussis, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday.

The HHSA reported the mother took the infant to Rady Children’s Hospital for treatment before leaving on their trip, and tests subsequently were positive for the illness, which is also known as whooping cough.

kid-coughsThe child was aboard Delta flight 3864, which departed at 11:20 a.m. to Detroit. The mother and infant were ultimately heading to Norfolk, Va., according to the HHSA.

County officials are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to notify people potentially exposed at the airport.

Pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that results in a cough that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Immunization from the disease are part of a child’s series of vaccinations.

“We are seeing a slight increase in the number of pertussis cases this year,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer. “This is a good reminder to parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on pertussis and all vaccinations with the start of the school year for many children right around the corner.”

So far this year, 114 cases of whooping cough have been diagnosed in San Diego County, compared to 81 last year at this time, according to the agency. All of last year, there were 165 cases documented.

The region was hit by a whooping cough epidemic three years ago, in which more than 1,000 people were sickened and two infants died.

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