Whooping cough on the increase in San Luis Obispo County

June 9, 2010

County public health officials are continuing to investigate a major increase in the number of cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Locally, more than 100 cases of whooping cough have been identified, compared to 2 cases in 2009 and 17 cases in 2008. The number of cases is expected to grow. One infant has been hospitalized, but is recovering.

“Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be fatal to young infants,” said Michelle Shoresman of the county Public Health department. She described the common symptoms as coughing lasting longer than two weeks, increase in severity of coughing, vomiting after coughing, and episodes of sudden, severe coughing.

Common treatment includes antibiotics and rest. However, infants are especially susceptible to whooping cough and they may require hospitalization. Untreated, infected persons can have the cough for up to three months.

Shoresman recommends that people aged 10 to 64 should consider being vaccinated against whooping cough. The TDaP vaccine–named Adacel and Boostrix–are available through the Public Health Department for $25.

More information is available on the Public Health Information Line: 788-2903.