(August 18, 2006) -- In a somewhat cryptic release, LB's Dept. of Health and Human Services says it is investigating a cluster of cases of whooping cough (medical name: "pertussis") which "all originated at one facility in Long Beach."
The Health Dept. didn't identify the facility [almost certainly for privacy reasons] but warned that whooping cough can be very severe. LB's Health Officer, Dr. Darryl Sexton, M.D., advised anyone who believes their child might have the characteristic high-pithced "whoop" type cough (additional symptoms below) to consult their physician promptly.
In its release, the Health Dept. says:
"Whooping cough can be a very serious disease for all ages, but particularly for infants less than one year of age. The disease is highly contagious and spreads easily through the air from person to person, especially when an infected person speaks coughs or sneezes. The bacterial illness starts with symptoms similar to a common cold. Children suffering from whooping cough often develop coughing fits, especially at night, giving a high-pitched "whoop" sound. The "whoop" is a sign that the person is struggling to breathe between coughs. The disease can be very severe. Although rare, deaths may occur if the disease goes untreated, especially in infants less than one year of age."
Again...if you suspect your child has this type of cough, the city's health officer advises you to consult your physician.
The Health Dept. says the best way to prevent whooping cough is to ensure that children receive all of their immunizations on time. If parents aren't sure their children are completely immunized, the Health Dept. says they should contact their family doctor to bring their children’s immunization up to date as soon as possible.
To schedule an appointment to vaccinate your child, contact the Health Dept's Immunization Clinic at (562) 570-4212.
For further questions about whooping cough, contact LB's Health Department (562) 570-4302.