A 5-year-old student at a Rancho Santa Fe prep school has been diagnosed with whooping cough, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
Parents with children who attend Horizon Prep School have been sent letters notifying them about the possibility of exposure to the highly contagious disease, according to the HHSA.
The student was not immunized against the disease, which is marked by severe coughing, according to the HHSA.
"All of the other students but one in the student's class had been immunized," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.
"Vaccination is strongly recommended for siblings and parents as well because of the high risk posed by whooping cough, especially to infants,'' Wooten said. "We urge parents to have their children immunized against vaccine-
Named for the "whoop" sound patients may make during or after a severe coughing spell, whooping cough usually starts with flu-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, sneezing, fever and a mild cough, according to the HHSA.
Whooping cough can occur at any age, but infants and young children are at highest risk of developing life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia and brain damage, according to the HHSA.