PRESS RELEASE: Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Alert
Between June 1 and June 25, 2009, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department has identified eight confirmed cases of pertussis in the South Santa Barbara County Community. Individuals range in age from 1 month to 49 years, with five in the adolescent to teen years.
Residents are urged to see their medical providers if they exhibit the symptoms of pertussis.
Whooping cough - known medically as pertussis - is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection that is spread by coughing and sneezing. Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, whooping cough may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants, and it is most contagious before the coughing starts. After 1-2 weeks, the symptoms may progress to a stage characterized by bursts of numerous rapid coughs (paroxysms) that can result in vomiting and exhaustion. A final recovery stage with coughing may last weeks or months. Complications of adult pertussis occur rarely, but infants are at the highest risk as they can develop apnea, pneumonia, seizures, and even death. Please see your health care provider should you or your child have these symptoms.
Although pertussis vaccine coverage among children in Santa Barbara County is high, Dr. Elliot Schulman, Santa Barbara County Health Officer, reminds us there are still some vulnerable and susceptible individuals who are unimmunized due to illness, being underage for vaccination, or those who choose not to immunize themselves or their children. Outbreaks of pertussis, a vaccine preventable disease, highlight the need to ensure all children and adults are up-to-date with their vaccinations. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends receiving DTaP at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 15 months for the primary series of vaccinations with a booster shot at 4-5 years. It is also now recommended that adolescents receive a Tdap booster at 11-12 years and all adults 19-64 years receive one to replace a single dose of Td.