6 whooping cough cases reported at Escondido high school

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ESCONDIDO, Calif. -- An outbreak of six cases of whooping cough at San Pasqual High School in Escondido was reported Wednesday by the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.

It's the first reported cluster of pertussis cases at a school in the county during this academic year. None of the students at the school were hospitalized and they were all up to date on their immunizations.

There have been 340 pertussis cases reported in the county so far in 2016, fewer than half of the 876 cases reported at this point in 2015, according to health officials.

Pertussis was more widespread in California in 2014, when there were 2,105 cases in the county.

"Although there have been fewer reports of pertussis this year compared to recent years, activity from this highly contagious disease tends to go in cycles and peaks every three to four years," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, county public health officer. "That's why it's important for everyone to be up to date with their vaccinations, especially pregnant women."

Pregnant women and people who come into close contact with infants should be vaccinated, because newborns are especially susceptible to pertussis since they are too young to be fully vaccinated. A 5-week-old San Diego infant died from pertussis in July, the first death from the highly contagious disease in the county since 2010, officials said.