By City News Service
The pertussis outbreak in San Diego County has continued into the new year, with six confirmed cases reported since Jan. 1, the Health and Human Services Agency reported Wednesday.
A record of 1,125 cases of the disease, also known as whooping cough, were reported last year — triple the previous high set in 2005. Two infants died of the illness in 2010.
Three of the new cases could have exposed other students at Challenger Middle School in Mira Mesa, Kate Sessions Elementary in Pacific Beach and Mueller Charter School in Chula Vista, according to the HHSA.
Vaccines will be available this upcoming weekend at Northgate markets around the county.
"The pertussis booster vaccine is important for anyone who comes in contact with infants and young children in order to safeguard our most vulnerable age groups," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county's public health officer.
Beginning July 1, a state law will take effect that requires children entering grades 7-12 to show proof that they are current on their booster shots.
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. The disease is treatable with antibiotics.