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Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, rising in Long Beach

April 23, 2014 9:47:58 AM PDT
Whooping cough, medically known as pertussis, is on the rise in Long Beach, and health officials are encouraging residents to get immunized.

So far this year, 42 confirmed cases of whooping cough have been reported in Long Beach. The majority of the cases are school-age children. No deaths have been reported due to the disease.

"A recent rise in pertussis in the City of Long Beach serves as a reminder that all age groups need to be properly immunized against this highly contagious disease," said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Health Officer for the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services.

Whooping cough is the most common vaccine-preventable disease and is spread by the coughing of an infected person.

A typical case in a child or adult starts with a cough -- that makes a "whooping" sound -- and a runny nose lasting up to two weeks. Some cases last longer and have rapid coughing fits lasting months. Symptoms in infants can be more severe and include vomiting after coughing.

"Complications can include pneumonia, seizures and in rare cases death," health officials said in a statement.

Children usually receive five doses of whooping cough vaccine before kindergarten, but officials say immunization does not provide lifelong immunity.

Long Beach residents who do not have a regular healthcare provider or health insurance covering vaccines can call 211 or the LBDHHS Immunization Program at (562) 570-4516 for information on community sites offering immunizations at reduced cost.

For more information about pertussis, visit the LBDHHS website or call (562) 570-4302.


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