Jun 12 2014

Whooping Cough Comes to Piedmont

California and Piedmont are experiencing an increase in the number of reported illnesses due to pertussis (whooping cough).

  • As of May 2014, California has received reports of 2,649 cases of pertussis, more than triple than the number of cases in the same period last year.
  • The disease is cyclical and peaks every 3-5 years. The last peak in California occurred in 2010 and it is likely another peak is underway.
  • Infants too young to be fully immunized remain most vulnerable to severe and fatal cases of pertussis. One infant has died this year from pertussis
  • More than 90 percent of this year’s reported pertussis cases have been in children younger than 18 years of age. Outbreaks of pertussis in elementary, middle, and high schools have been reported throughout the state. In Alameda County (where we have had 120 cases reported to date in 2014), there has been increased pertussis activity in the communities of Livermore, Piedmont and Alameda, as well as clusters of disease in other cities.

What you can do?

  • People of all ages can become ill with pertussis (whooping cough). Children younger than 6 months of age are the most vulnerable to serious illness if they develop pertussis.
  • Pregnant women should receive a Tdap, booster shot, during the 3rd trimester of each pregnancy. This helps provide passive immunity to their newborn babies, who are too young to be vaccinated. Everyone (parents, grandparents, siblings, other household and child-care contacts), who will be in close contact with the infant should also be vaccinated before the infant is born.
  • Young infants are further protected when parents, caregivers, siblings and healthcare workers stay up to date on pertussis vaccinations.
  • California schools require that all students entering 7th grade provide documentation of Tdap vaccination.
  • The symptoms of pertussis vary by age. For children, a typical case of pertussis starts with a cough and runny nose for one to two weeks. The cough then worsens and children may have rapid coughing spells that end with a whooping sound. Young infants may not have typical pertussis symptoms and may have no apparent cough. Parents may describe episodes in which the infant’s face turns red or purple. For adults, pertussis may simply be a cough illness that persists for several weeks.
  • People with symptoms should see their health care provider for testing, diagnosis, and treatment before returning to work or school.


Fact sheets for families

Fact sheet for pregnant women

California Department of Public Health Website

Alameda County Public Health Department website

Information provided by the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency and Public Health Department


PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, Director, Health Officer Division of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Erica Pan, MD, MPH, Director & Deputy Health Officer 1000 Broadway, Ste 500 Sandra Huang, MD, TB Controller & CD Controller, Oakland, CA 94607

Tel (510) 267-3250  Fax (510) 268-2111


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