Angels Camp, CA — Calaveras County Health Officials are keeping an eye out for cases of Whooping Cough, also known as Pertussis.
County Health Officer Dr. Dean Kelaita says three cases have recently come to his attention, and they were all in the Angels Camp community.
Dr. Kelaita describes Whooping Cough as starting as a cold-like illness with a runny nose, slight fever, and mild cough. The cough gets worse and typically lasts several weeks.
“Coughing can become severe enough to cause vomiting after a series of rapid, deep coughs,” says Dr. Kelaita. “The term ‘Whooping Cough’ comes from the gasping noise often made by children as they try to catch their breath during a coughing spell. Not all children make this noise.”
In 2008, 12 cases of Whooping Cough were reported in Calaveras County, whereas the prior five years saw an average of 3.6 cases per year.
Dr. Kelaita says anyone with a prolonged cough should seek medical attention. People of all ages are at risk, but most recover without any problems. Serious illness or death can occur with infants under six months of age. Pregnant or recently post partum women are also at high risk.
Pertussis is preventable through immunization of children starting at age two months. By age four, a child should have received four doses of the DTaP vaccine. Waning immunity from childhood immunizations has resulted in an increase in Pertussis cases in older children and youth.
A booster dose of Pertussis vaccine is now recommended at 11-12 years of age to protect both youth and high risk community members.
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