Local whooping cough cases reach record high

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SAN DIEGO — The number of pertussis cases recorded in San Diego County last year reached a new high, surpassing the region’s previous record by nearly 900 cases, county officials announced Friday.

A total of 2,072 cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, were confirmed in 2014, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. The county’s previous record was set in 2010, when 1,179 cases were recorded.

“Pertussis activity in the region has been high since the end of 2013 and the epidemic appears to be continuing into 2015,” said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s Public Health Officer. “We are working with local health care professionals and educators to stress the need for everyone to be up-to-date with their vaccinations.”

So far this year, 157 cases of pertussis have been recorded in the county compared to 154 cases at the same time last year, HHSA reported. None of the cases have been fatal. In fact, no one has died of pertussis in the county since 2010, according to the HHSA.

A typical pertussis case starts with a cough or runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Some cases also involve a mild fever.

Wooten said it is critical for pregnant women and people who come into close contact with young infants to get vaccinated because newborns are too young to be fully vaccinated against the disease.

To learn more about vaccinations and where to get them, residents can call HHSA at 866-358-2966.

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