City Health Officer Reports Whooping Cough Increasing in Long Beach

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Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is on the rise in Long Beach and City health officials are encouraging residents to immunize themselves and their families against this preventable 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.

So far this year, 42 confirmed cases of pertussis have been reported in the City of Long Beach. There have been no deaths. The majority of the cases are school-age children. Among the vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is the most common.

Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread by the coughing of an infected person. Unimmunized or incompletely immunized young infants are particularly vulnerable and at increased risk for severe complications. In these cases, parents, older siblings and others in the household are often the source of their infection. A typical case of pertussis in a child or adult starts with a cough and runny nose lasting up to 2 weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits. Symptoms in young infants may be more variable and severe. Typically symptoms in young infants include intense coughing accompanied by a whooping sound and vomiting after coughing. If you suspect that you or your child may have pertussis, contact your doctor right away. Complications can include pneumonia, seizures and in rare cases death.

Although most children receive five doses of pertussis vaccine (DTaP) before kindergarten, immunization does not provide lifelong immunity. Because immunity wears off over time, booster doses (shots) are needed throughout life. To protect you and your child from pertussis, make sure everyone in the home has been vaccinated against pertussis.

  • Young children need five doses of by kindergarten (ages 4-6).
  • All students entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization (called “Tdap”).
  • Pregnant women are recommended to receive a Tdap booster during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got it before pregnancy.
  • Adults should receive Tdap in place of their routine 10-year tetanus (Td) booster, especially if they are in contact with infants or are health care workers.

Long Beach residents are encouraged to contact their regular healthcare provider to arrange for recommended vaccinations. Those who do not have a regular healthcare provider or health insurance covering vaccines can dial 2-1-1 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 at or dial (562) 570-4302.

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