State Watch

Officials deny lack of vaccinations caused whooping cough outbreak in Los Angeles

Officials at a Los Angeles high school said Tuesday that a lack of vaccinations does not explain an outbreak of whooping cough.

"We have a really high vaccination rate in our community, which is something we're very grateful for," Harvard-Westlake spokesperson Ari Engelberg said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Thirty students at the private school have reportedly been diagnosed with whooping cough, also known as pertussis, recently.

Engelberg also told reporters that only 18 of Harvard-Westlake's roughly 1,600 students have medical exemptions allowing them to opt out of immunizations. He added that none of those students have contracted the disease.

Los Angeles County officials warned area doctors in an email last week about three clusters in the county, according to the Times.

"The number of reported clusters of pertussis cases has risen in 11- to 18-year-olds who share classrooms, carpools/transportation, or extracurricular activities," the Feb. 19 advisory said.

The highly contagious disease is spread by coughing, sneezing or simply breathing air around an infected person. Young children are vaccinated against whooping cough and then given a booster dose around age 11 or 12. 

 

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