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Whooping Cough Still a Problem
But Below Earlier Epidemic Levels
3,404 cases reported in 2015 third-highest total ever

California state officials say that whooping cough remains a problem in the state even though the number of cases is lower than totals from epidemics in 2010 and 2014.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said that as of Aug. 3—the end of the last reporting period for whooping cough [pertussis] —there have been 3,404 cases reported in the state. The CDPH said the total number of whooping cough cases “remains high in California” and that “more cases of pertussis have already been reported in 2015 than any year since the 1950s” other than 2010 and 2014.

Los Angeles County has reported the highest number of cases with 826 or 8.8 cases for every 100,000 residents. The region of the state with the highest incidence of whooping cough is Humboldt County with 56 cases and a rate of 41.5 cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County has reported 600 cases or 18.9 cases per 100,000 residents. has reported the highest number of cases with 826 or 8.8 cases for every 100,000 residents. The region of the state with the highest incidence of whooping cough is Humboldt County with 56 cases and a rate of 41.5 cases per 100,000 residents. San Diego County has reported 600 cases or 18.9 cases per 100,000 residents.

In 2014, there were 11,203 cases of whooping cough reported in California, breaking the single-year record from 2010 when there were 9,120 cases. In 2010, there were 10 whooping cough related deaths in the state and all 10 victims were infants under the age of 6 months. In 2014, all three whooping cough fatalities were infants under five weeks old and so far in 2015, one fatality has been reported for an infant under five weeks old.

Of the 126 people with whooping cough who have been hospitalized this year, 89 patients (71%) were infants under four months of age. Whooping cough rates are highest among children under the age of 1. Adolescents aged 14 to 17 have the second-highest rate. Infants are at a greater risk from whooping cough because their lungs are not fully developed.

To help prevent fatalities among infants, the CDPH is urging pregnant women to receive a whooping cough booster shot during their pregnancy. “Vaccinated mothers pass protective antibodies to their infants during pregnancy,” said CDPH director Karen Smith, MD. “Right now, it’s estimated that fewer than half of all pregnant women in California are vaccinated against whooping cough. We need to increase that number to help improve the health of our children and our communities.”

The CDPH is recommending that pregnant women receive shots during the third trimester of their pregnancy, because the effectiveness of the vaccine wanes over time.
—DOUG DESJARDINS

To make an appointment for vaccinations, please call Magan appointment desk at: (626) 251-1500.