The California Department of Public Health declared a state‐wide epidemic of pertussis in June 2014. In Los Angeles County, 435 lab‐confirmed and probable cases, and another 386 suspect cases have been reported as of July 7.

Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States
Public domain image/National Atlas of the United States

This puts Los Angeles on track to exceed the number of pertussis cases reported in 2010, the last year during which there was a pertussis epidemic. To‐date this year, three infants, two of whom became infected last year,
have died from pertussis in California.

State health officials are asking health providers to consider pertussis in any patient who presents with an unremitting cough illness, and in infants that present with respiratory difficulty including gagging, gasping for air, and

In addition they advise: Treat any patients suspected of having pertussis with a regimen recommended by the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention. Antibiotics effective against pertussis are: azithromycin, erythromycin, clarithromycin, or trimethoprim‐sulfamethoxazole;  Monitor all infants suspected of having pertussis closely as they can quickly progress from mild and often inapparent respiratory distress to intractable respiratory failure; More than 80% of infants less than 2 months of age with pertussis will require hospitalization and vaccinate all pregnant women against pertussis between the 27th and 36th weeks of each pregnancy, in order to maximize maternal antibody response and provide passive antibody transfer to the infant. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page