Community Health Alert
Epidemic in California
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has reached epidemic levels in California. Babies are at the highest risk for serious complications and death.
Pertussis is highly contagious, but can be prevented through vaccination. The disease is usually milder in adults and adolescents, sometimes with the same symptoms as a common cold. It is potentially fatal to infants.
Babies and young children with with pertussis often experience severe coughing, followed by a whooping sound as they gasp for breath. Vomiting often follows a coughing spell.
Preventing Whooping Cough
Vaccines safely prevent the disease. The DTap vaccine is one of the recommended childhood immunizations that protects against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis. The infant series of vaccination begins at two months of age. The recommended schedule continues through childhood and should be followed by a booster vaccine (Tdap) in adolescence.
Babies most often catch whooping cough from a family member. Adults and adolescents should speak to their doctors about getting the Tdap booster vaccine. By protecting yourself, you also protect your baby.
Women considering pregnancy should be vaccinated against pertussis before pregnancy or immediately after giving birth. Tri-City Medical Center now vaccinates all maternity patients after they have given birth. Fathers may be vaccinated at any time, but preferably before the birth of their baby. Others who may have contact with infants, including family members, should also be vaccinated.
Where to Get Immunized
Immunization Clinics are being conducted at County of San Diego Public Health Centers. Click here for more info. Check with your family's healthcare provider for specific questions.