Whooping cough case reported at local school

A Carmel Valley high school student may have unintentionally exposed others to whooping cough, County Health and Human Services Agency officials said today.

The 17-year-old, who was up-to-date with immunizations, attends the San Diego Jewish Academy. The County reported eight cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, to date for 2012. The case total remained at 436 for 2011.

“Symptoms of the disease can take weeks to develop after an exposure and may initially appear to be a common cold,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer. “Anyone who may have been exposed to pertussis should be alert to symptoms and seek treatment if necessary. To prevent the spread of whooping cough, or at least lessen the severity of symptoms, a booster shot or regular vaccinations are recommended.”

A record 1,144 cases, which included two infant deaths, were reported in San Diego County during the 2010 epidemic. There were no deaths from pertussis reported in California in 2011.

Parents can obtain the vaccine series and the Tdap booster shot for their children through their primary care physician. Students who are not covered by a medical insurance plan can get the shot from a local retail pharmacy for a fee, or from a County Public Health Center.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild. The disease is treatable with antibiotics.

For more information about whooping cough and ongoing vaccination clinics, call the HHSA Immunization Branch at (866) 358-2966, or visit



— Submitted press release