Translate this page

County officials and medical experts encourage vaccination in wake of possible pertussis upswing

Friday, February 28th, 2014
Issue 09, Volume 18.
Alex Groves
Staff Writer

Riverside County officials are urging parents to get their young children vaccinated for pertussis after this year’s first confirmed death from the illness.

The death marks the first time since 2010 that there’s been a pertussis-related fatality in the State of California. The 2-month-old infant who fell ill had not been vaccinated and his mother had not received a booster while pregnant, according to county health officials.

Pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, is an infectious bacterial disease that causes individuals who contract it to cough uncontrollably. The disease is particularly dangerous for infants; 69 percent of children less than 1 year of age who contract the infection must be hospitalized.

Barbara Cole, director of disease control at the Riverside County Department of Public Health, said that there were 10 confirmed cases of pertussis in the county as of Thursday, Feb. 13.

That may not seem like much, but it could be an indication of a greater problem, according to officials at the California Department of Public Health. They say that monthly reports indicate that pertussis cases are on the rise.

Yearly cases of whooping cough have been on a downward trend since the epidemic of 2010, when there more than 9,000 reported cases and 10 deaths in the state.

But the contagious infection is cyclical and it’s not unusual to see sudden peaks in the number of cases every 3-5 years, according to a report from The CDPH.

That’s why individuals like Cole are encouraging parents to consult their pediatricians about vaccination schedules.

"There’s a vaccine schedule for child immunization," she said. "And usually, you’ll see children start their vaccine series at 2 months of age (before receiving additional vaccines every two months), so 2, 4, 6, so there’s a standard schedule for children."

Dr. Richard Rawson, D.O, a pediatrician for Temecula Medical Center said it may be hard for parents to determine whether their child has whooping Advertisement
Advertisement for Carrington Home Loans
[ Carrington Home Loans ]
cough because symptoms present themselves in a similar manner to the common cold.

Rawson encouraged parents to look carefully at tell-tale signs and symptoms such as the duration of the cough a child is experiencing as well as the kinds of sounds a child makes after coughing.

"Really the thing that distinguishes it (Pertussis) from your typical cold, your typical cough, your typical pneumonia is going to be that cough, cough, cough, cough, cough with that big whoop at the end," Rawson said.

"Sometimes in younger children, like infants, you won’t see that," he said. "What they’ll do is they’ll either cough and gag or they will have what is called apnia, which is almost like a breath-holding spell and they’ll sometimes turn blue because they can’t catch that breath."

The pediatrician said another way to tell if a child has whooping cough is to determine whether they vomit after coughing for an extended period of time, as this could also be an indication that they are suffering from the illness.

However, Rawson said that whenever a child is sick, parents should always take that child to the doctor regardless of symptoms because doctors can make the best determinations for treatment and can most appropriately diagnose certain kinds of illnesses because of their training.

The children’s specialist said that sometimes he meets parents who are reluctant to vaccinate their children because they are afraid of a possible connection between vaccines and autism. His advice to those individuals is to vaccinate anyway because there is no evidence that one causes the other and that vaccines are the best method for reducing a person’s chances of contracting whooping cough.

"To this day I have yet to see anything corroborating a link between vaccines and autism," he said. "There’s just no good evidence to support that link, and so to all my pediatric patients I recommend that they do get vaccinated."



arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!

Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Wayne Guglielmo


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds