City officials are encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated against pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, this back-to-school season.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a respiratory illness that begins with cold-like symptoms before progressing into a severe and long-lasting cough. Persons with pertussis can spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, and, if left untreated, can cause serious illness in infants, children, and adults, according to City spokesperson Ed Kamlan. Cases of whooping cough continue to increase throughout California, with157 cases of whooping cough identified this year in Long Beach alone.
“This is the highest number of cases that the Long Beach Health Department has ever experienced,” said city health officer Dr. Mitchell Kuschner in a statement.
The pertussis vaccine can help against infection, Kamlan said, but sometimes even immunized children can still get pertussis. Children in California entering the seventh grade are required to get vaccinated before returning to school. Pertussis boosters are also recommended for adults, especially pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy.
The city is encouraging residents to contact their regular healthcare providers for vaccines, which will be covered by many insurance plans at no cost to the patient. Those without health insurance or immunization coverage can call the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services Immunization Clinic at 562-570-4316 or Los Angeles County’s Information Line at 2-1-1 for information on low cost vaccinations.
For more information on pertussis, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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