As cases of whooping cough grow in California, Inyo-Mono Public Health Officer Dr. Rick Johnson warns the public and recommends immunizations and a booster vaccine for children.


Pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose.

Dr. Johnson said that to protect against the current epidemic levels of pertussis or whooping cough, “health experts have expanded recommendations for immunizing against pertussis and emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated.” Dr. Johnson said that we could be facing the worst year for whooping cough that the state has seen in more than 50 years.

Johnson said the illness has already reached an epidemic level in California. Cases so far amount to a five-fold increase over last year. Six infants, under three months of age, have died from pertussis this year.

Dr. Johnson said that Inyo County ahs experienced two laboratory proven cases. He said that aggressive action by providers and the Health Department has prevented any secondary cases. Health officials have intervened with investigation of how the children contracted the illness, introduced vaccination and antibiotics with protective actions around the most vulnerable young infants.

A typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes ends with a whooping sound. Dr. Johnson said he and others are urging vaccination. Check with your health provider or your local health department.

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