L.A. Private School Hit by Whooping Cough Outbreak
At least 30 students at Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City, California have contracted Whooping Cough, a highly contagious respiratory infection that can be deadly for unvaccinated infants and young children.
The rash of reports is part of a larger outbreak affecting Los Angeles County. County health officials recently sent out an advisory to physicians warning of a cluster of 50 confirmed cases in the region.
Whooping Cough, also known as Pertussis, is largely preventable by vaccine. Effectiveness depends on when the shot was received, with a 70% prevention rate in the first year and 40% four years after. Children are required to have the booster shot before they enter the 7th grade.
It’s not clear how many Harvard-Westlake students have been vaccinated against the illness, as the school has not released 7th grade vaccination data for the 2017-18 school year. In the past, the school — which has a student body of around 1,600 — boasted vaccination rates of around 98%.