SAN DIEGO, April 10 (UPI) -- Clusters of pertussis -- or whooping cough -- cases have sprung up in San Diego and in areas of southwest Georgia, health officials said.
In San Diego County, 10 new cases of the illness were reported last week, and with 200 diagnoses so far in 2014, the county is on pace to overtake the total number of cases in 2013 -- 430.
"A greater number of children are getting sick with pertussis this year," said Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "Parents or guardians should make sure their children have received all the recommended doses of the pertussis vaccine."
“Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an infection caused by bacteria,” said Southwest Georgia Public Health District Health Director Dr. Jacqueline Grant. “It spreads easily through the air when an infected person breathes, coughs or sneezes.”
“More than half of infants younger than 12 months old who get pertussis require hospitalization,” she said. “Since 2013, there have been seven cases of infants with pertussis in our district. Four of those were hospitalized, and three – all under 2 months old – required intensive care outside of the area.”