Whooping Cough Epidemic Hits San Diego County

Scripps recommends health workers regularly in contact with children to increase their booster schedule to once every five years

Scripps Health, Dr. Mark Shalauta, comments on whether a more frequent booster shot is necessary for the whooping cough epidemic.

More than 1,900 whooping cough cases were recorded in San Diego County in 2014, an alarming number that has some researchers questioning whether a more frequent booster shot schedule is needed to keep immune systems inoculated.

Mark Shalauta, MD, who practices family medicine at Scripps Clinic Rancho Bernardo and serves on the county’s public health advisory committee, weighed in on the discussion in a recent UT San Diego article. Dr. Shalauta described what he has seen on the front lines working with adults and children with whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

“It can become very severe if it’s not treated relatively quickly,” Dr. Shalauta told the UT San Diego. “Patients can have coughing spells that are so severe they’re almost throwing up. I’ve definitely had people break ribs because they’re coughing so violently,” he said.

Dr. Shalauta said he has increased his booster schedule to once every five years, which is what Scripps Health recommends for any health worker who is in regular contact with children.

Adults are free to receive the shot more frequently than the current practice of once every 10 years, he said.

Read: Epidemic Shows Vaccine’s Weakness in the UT San Diego

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