The number of pertussis (or whooping cough) cases keeps rising in San Diego County as six more children have been diagnosed — including one in the Poway Unified School District, County Health and Human Services Agency reported.

“Whooping cough continues to have a strong presence in our community,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County Public Health Officer.  “It is extremely important for parents to make sure their children have received all recommended pertussis vaccinations.”

One of the infected children was a 10-year-old who was not up-to-date with immunizations and attended Adobe Bluffs Elementary Extended Studies Services, located at 8707 Adobe Bluffs Drive in the 92129 Zip Code, from July 12 through Aug. 2 this year.

A month-old San Diego infant died last month and, to date, there have been 19 hospitalizations in the county due to complications from whooping cough (15 were babies 6-months or younger). Even infants that may have started their series of whooping cough shots are not adequately protected until they have had their third shot at 6 months of age. Furthermore, immunity from pertussis, even if you are vaccinated, can lessen over time and no vaccine is 100 percent effective.

San Diego County has had 336 cases of pertussis reported in 2010. Last year, there were 143 cases. The previous highest number of cases was 371 in 2005.