By Gitzel Puente. CREATED Jan 20, 2014
RIVERSIDE COUNTY - If you have a severe cough that just won't go away, doctors say you might want to get it checked out. There's been a sharp increase of whooping cough cases across Riverside County, according to the California Department of Public Health.
The report shows 46 cases of whooping cough in 2012 and 70 cases in 2013.
"It's bordetella pertussis. It's a bacterial infection," explained Dr. Erik Palmer, doctor of osteopathic medicine at Desert Family Medical Center in Cathedral City. Dr. Palmer said the most common symptom is severe coughing that lasts one to two minutes.
This respiratory illness is contagious and can be spread when somebody coughs or sneezes. The majority of the reported cases in California were in children.
"Lethality is 1.6 in children ages one year or less. They're the ones who are most prone to get it, but anybody can get it. I've seen it six times, I've seen it in adults," said Dr. Palmer.
In order to prevent whooping cough, doctors say vaccination is key. Children need five doses of the DTaP vaccine by age 6, and it's also recommended that children around 11 also get a booster shot.
"For adults now, you should be revaccinating. It's called the Tdap, it seems to be good for about six to eight years and then you have to revaccinate again," said Dr. Palmer.
While the number was higher for California and 13 other states, nationally reported cases of whooping cough declined.