Sonoma County officials recommend whooping cough vaccinations

Sonoma County health officials are advising parents of infants to get vaccinated for pertussis or whooping cough.

The county’s deputy public health officer Dr. Leigh Hall said there have been 20 reported cases of pertussis in the county this year but the recent death of in infant younger than 2 months has caused some concern, Hall said.

The 20 cases are not considered an outbreak but eight of those cases involved infants younger than 2 months. There were 75 reported pertussis cases last year and only two involved children under 2 months old, Hall said.

Pertussis vaccinations are normally given to children at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months. Parents and family members who have colds or coughs are advised to wear surgical masks when they are around newborns, to avoid close contact and wash their hands often, Hall said.

“We like to stress getting the vaccine so parents and teens don’t serve as a reservoir for other family members,” Hall said Tuesday evening.

Pertussis resembles a cold at first but progresses to a cough in about two weeks and can linger for two or three weeks or as long as four months, Hall said.

There may be more than 20 cases of pertussis in the county because many are not reported, Hall said. The Sonoma County Public Health Department issued an alert to 260 physicians and pediatricians to be on the lookout for pertussis cases.

Adults should receive a pertussis booster shot at least every 10 years, health officials said, and parents should get the vaccine when their baby is born.

— Bay City News

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