SACRAMENTO – Dr.
Howard Backer, the Interim Director
of the California Department of Public
Health (CDPH), today warned that the
number of pertussis (whooping cough)
cases in 2011 continues to be above
both the 2009 baseline levels and the
numbers seen by this time last year.
Backer also encouraged parents to ensure
that their adolescent’s immunizations
are up-to-date in compliance with a
new California law that is slated to
go into effect July 1, 2011.
“In 2010, California experienced
a record high number of pertussis illnesses,
including 10 infant deaths,” said
Backer. “While it is too early
to know if this year will reach the
same high levels of this debilitating
disease, California is currently experiencing
more cases than would be typically
expected, but fortunately no fatalities.”
Backer also called on parents of children
in grades seven through 12, to ensure
that they comply with AB 354, which
requires documentation of an adolescent
pertussis booster shot prior to school
entry. More than one million students
statewide still remain to be vaccinated
before the fall semester.
“Vaccination, including critical
booster shots, is the best defense
against pertussis,” added Backer. “Parents
of 7th to 12th graders must ensure
that their children receive the necessary
booster shot to avoid a delay in having
their children start classes in the
vaccination series for pertussis
can begin at the age of 6 weeks.
however, are not adequately protected
by vaccination until the initial series
of three shots is complete. For new
mothers and anyone in close contact
with infants, CDPH encourages a “cocooning
strategy,” where individuals
in close contact are vaccinated to
protect the not-fully-immunized infant.
Anyone who might be coming into contact
with newborns and young infants should
ensure that their immunizations are
Pertussis is a highly contagious disease.
Unimmunized or incompletely immunized
young infants are particularly vulnerable
to severe disease. Numbers of reported
pertussis cases typically increase
during the summer months. More information
on pertussis and the numbers of reported
cases is available at http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Pertussis.aspx.
hear what pertussis (whooping cough