Orange County Health Care Agency officials Thursday announced the first pertussis-related death of an infant in more than a decade.
Pertussis is often called whooping cough. The last pertussis-related death in Orange County was in 2007.
Officials did not immediately release the gender of the infant or when the death occurred.
Last year, there were 171 cases of pertussis reported with eight infants younger than three months requiring hospitalization, officials said.
It was not immediately clear from the county’s announcement if pertussis is on the rise in the county.
Doctors recommend pregnant moms get the Tdap vaccine to ward off pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
The respiratory illness is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing.
“Maternal vaccination during pregnancy has been found to be 90 % effective in preventing pertussis disease in children under two months of age,” interim county health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick said. “The best way to prevent pertussis is to be up-to-date on vaccinations. Children should receive doses of (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis shots) as part of their routine vaccination schedule starting at two months of age.”
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