By City News Service
Sixteen new cases of whooping cough in children and teens around San Diego County were reported this week, county health officials announced Thursday.
The latest cases were in patients aged 1-15, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
So far this year, there have been 782 confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, locally, according to the HHSA. That surpasses the previous high of 371 cases set in 2005.
Two infants have died locally as a result of the disease this year.
County health officials urged residents to get themselves and their children vaccinated against the disease.
"The incidence of pertussis remains high which is why we recommend that children and adults who are in close contact with children get immunized," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer. "Without immunity, all age groups can contract it, but infants can develop life-threatening complications."
Pertussis typically starts with a cough and runny nose for up to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound.
The illness, which might include a mild fever, is treatable with antibiotics.