By City News Service
County health officials Wednesday urged residents to get vaccinated for whooping cough, as the number of cases reported in the San Diego region continues to rise.
The number of cases of whooping cough reported locally so far this year stands at 468, surpassing the previous record of 371 cases set in 2005, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
"The whooping cough epidemic continues," said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the county's deputy public health officer. "It is extremely important for all children and adults to be fully immunized; especially adults who have contact with babies and small children."
Eleven new cases of whooping cough, also called pertussis, were reported this week, according to the HHSA. The latest cases were in children ages 3 to 16.
To help combat the spread of the disease, the HHSA is offering vaccination clinics on Saturdays at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and on Sundays at six Northgate Markets locations around San Diego County.
Pertussis often starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound. The disease is treated with antibiotics.