Whooping cough cases on the rise in Long Beach

April 22, 2014

LONG BEACH (CNS) – The number of whooping cough cases reported in Long Beach is on the rise, prompting health officials today to encourage residents to get immunized.

More than 40 cases of the disease that’s also known as pertussis have been logged so far this year, but there have been no deaths, according to Mitchell Kushner, Long Beach’s health officer. Most of the 42 cases have beenamong school-aged children.

“A recent rise in pertussis in the city of Long Beach serves as a reminder that all age groups need to be properly immunized against this highly contagious disease,” Kushner said.

A dozen cases were reported in Long Beach last year, up from four in 2012, according to the California Department of Public Health.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild.

Antibiotics can lessen the severity of symptoms and prevent the spread of disease to others.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get doses of the vaccine at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. Health officials also recommend that preteens and adults get a booster.

Infants younger than a year old are especially vulnerable because they do not have the full five-dose series of pertussis vaccinations.

Long Beach residents are encouraged to contact their regular healthcare provider to arrange for recommended vaccinations. Those who do not have a regular healthcare provider or health insurance covering vaccines can dial 2-1-1 or call the LBDHHS Immunization Program at (562) 570-4516 for information on community sites offering immunizations at reduced cost.