Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is on the rise in Long
Beach and City health officials are encouraging residents to
immunize themselves and their families against this preventable
"A recent rise in pertussis in the City of Long Beach serves as a
reminder that all age groups need to be properly immunized against
this highly contagious disease," said Dr. Mitchell Kushner, Health
Officer for the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human
So far this year, 42 confirmed cases of pertussis have been
reported in the City of Long Beach. There have been no deaths. The
majority of the cases are school-age children. Among the
vaccine-preventable diseases, pertussis is the most common.
Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that is spread by the
coughing of an infected person. Unimmunized or incompletely
immunized young infants are particularly vulnerable and at
increased risk for severe complications. In these cases, parents,
older siblings and others in the household are often the source of
their infection. A typical case of pertussis in a child or adult
starts with a cough and runny nose lasting up to 2 weeks, followed
by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits. Symptoms in young
infants may be more variable and severe. Typically symptoms in
young infants include intense coughing accompanied by a whooping
sound and vomiting after coughing. If you suspect that you or your
child may have pertussis, contact your doctor right away.
Complications can include pneumonia, seizures and in rare cases
Although most children receive five doses of pertussis vaccine
(DTaP) before kindergarten, immunization does not provide lifelong
immunity. Because immunity wears off over time, booster doses
(shots) are needed throughout life. To protect you and your child
from pertussis, make sure everyone in the home has been vaccinated
Young children need five doses of by kindergarten (ages 4-6).
All students entering, advancing or transferring into 7th grade need proof of an adolescent whooping cough booster immunization (called “Tdap”).
Pregnant women are recommended to receive a Tdap booster during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got it before pregnancy.
Adults should receive Tdap in place of their routine 10-year tetanus (Td) booster, especially if they are in contact with infants or are health care workers.
Long Beach residents are encouraged to contact their regular
healthcare provider to arrange for recommended vaccinations. Those
who do not have a regular healthcare provider or health insurance
covering vaccines can dial 2-1-1 or the LBDHHS Immunization Program
at (562) 570-4516 for information on community sites offering
immunizations at reduced cost.
For more information about pertussis, visit the LBDHHS website at
or dial (562) 570-4302.