By City News Service
The number of cases of whooping cough cases in the San Diego region continues to rise, with 554 cases confirmed to date, county health officials announced Wednesday.
There were 14 new cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, reported this week, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency.
The latest cases were in children 3-17, according to the HHSA.
There were 143 cases of whooping cough locally in all of 2009 and the previous high for the county was 371 cases in 2005, according to the HHSA.
"Parents need to make sure their children are immunized and make sure they are also getting the necessary booster shots," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.
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.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority also announced today it will offer whooping cough and other vaccinations to passengers at six locations at Lindbergh Field, starting Friday.
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.