Whopping cough outbreak in San Francisco area

posted Aug 27, 2010, 10:37 AM by fr.irenei@stjohnsacademysf.org
Dear parents,

As you may have heard, a whooping cough epidemic has been declared in California over the summer, affecting our San Francisco Bay Area. Because of this, it is doubly important that your children's vaccinations are up to date and current, as vaccinations make what is otherwise a potentially critical illness highly preventable.

Please read the below letter from the California Department of Public Health in SF, and contact our Academy office if you have any questions.

August 23, 2010 

Dear Parents and Guardians, 

A pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic was declared in California this past June. There have been four times as many cases reported in San Francisco than at this time last year. It is the most cases that California has seen in fifty years and 7 babies have already died from the disease this year in California. Pertussis is serious. It causes a severe cough, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. Young children are normally vaccinated against pertussis with a vaccine called DTaP. State law requires that all children complete this vaccine series before starting school. It is important to get booster shots between ages 4-6 and again after age 10. 

Your child can be required by the Health Department to stay home from school if he/she is not up-to-date on immunizations and there is a high risk of certain diseases like pertussis. To avoid the possibility of exclusion for your child, check with your doctor to make sure that he/she has gotten all required shots. The shots required for school entry are posted at www.sfcdcp.org/izschools. A listing of kindergarten immunization rates for San Francisco schools is also available on this web page. 

Babies less than 6 months old are too young to be fully protected from pertussis. It is very important that everyone be protected from pertussis, but especially all people around infants and pregnant women. Talk to your doctor about getting the pertussis booster shot. Visit www.sfcdcp.org/pertussis or call 311 for additional vaccination options. 

If your child has a serious cough, please be sure to call your doctor. Thank you for helping us fight this epidemic. 

Susan E. Fernyak, MD, MPH 
Deputy Health Officer 
Director, Communicable Disease Control and Prevention Section 
San Francisco Department of Public Health 
Aug 27, 2010, 10:43 AM