Officials with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health have reported the third death attributed to whooping cough, or pertussis, in the county this year, bringing the death toll in California's whooping cough outbreak to six.To date, 289 possible cases of whooping cough have been reported in Los Angeles County, InfectionControlToday.com reports. Of those, 184 are laboratory confirmed. There were 156 whooping cough cases in all of 2009 in the county.
The latest death comes on the heels of expanded vaccination recommendations made by the state’s Department of Public Health, InfectionControlToday.com reports.
The state has recommended adolescent-adult pertussis booster vaccines for anyone seven years and older who is not fully immunized, including those who are more than 64 years old. It has also recommended that women of childbearing age - before, during, or immediately after pregnancy - receive the booster vaccine.
Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the Los Angeles County director of public health, told InfectionControlToday.com the recommendations need to be taken seriously.
“This expanded set of recommendations is an appropriate response to the epidemic in Los Angeles County and statewide,” Fielding told InfectionControlToday.com. “Vaccination is our best defense against pertussis. This is a disease that is especially dangerous for infants under six months of age, who are not old enough to have received the number of vaccine doses needed to be protected against whooping cough.”
Pertussis is spread by the coughing of an infected individual. Symptoms in young children include intense coughing accompanied by a whooping sound and post-cough vomiting.