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Public Health Department Reports Spike in Whooping Cough Cases in July


SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The Santa Clara County Public Health Department reported a spike in pertussis (whooping cough) cases during the month of July. Since January 1, there have been 97 whooping cough cases reported in Santa Clara County, with more than half of those occurring in the month of July. Fortunately, no whooping cough-related deaths have been reported in Santa Clara County so far this year.

Whooping cough has reached epidemic levels in California, according to the California Department of Public Health. As of July 16, 1,496 cases have been reported in California, including six infant deaths. That is a three-fold increase over the same period last year, when 304 cases were reported. Already this year, Santa Clara County has experienced nearly four times the number of cases in all of 2009, when 25 cases were reported.

Infants are most at risk from serious illness and death from whooping cough. Infants can be vaccinated starting at 2 months old, then again at 4 and 6 months. Until all three shots are completed, infants are not fully protected.

That’s why the Public Health Department is urging new mothers and anyone else who comes in contact with infants under age 1 to get vaccinated. Even if you were vaccinated as a child or had the disease, you may need a booster shot because immunity wears off. Those ages 7 years and older who are not fully immunized should get vaccinated. Those without insurance who meet this criteria can get the vaccine at the Public Health Immunization Clinic, 976 Lenzen Avenue, San Jose.

The Public Health Department is working to keep the medical community informed about the whooping cough epidemic. Since the beginning of June, the Public Health Department has sent three health alerts to medical providers about the diagnosis and treatment of whooping cough as well as use of the vaccine.

Those with health coverage are encouraged to contact their medical provider about getting the vaccine. The Public Health Department is offering pertussis vaccinations at its Immunization Clinic for those without health insurance who are at least 7 years old and are in close contact with a pregnant woman or infant under age 1. For vaccination information, call 408.885.3980.

For more information about whooping cough, visit

Media Contact: Maury Kendall 408.792.5265, Mobile 408.691.9913
Posted: July 29, 2010