DHHS: Transylvania Co. infant dies from whooping cough - FOX Carolina 21

DHHS: Transylvania Co. infant dies from whooping cough

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BREVARD, NC (FOX Carolina) -

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services attributed the death of a 3-week-old from Transylvania County, to peretussis, commonly known as whooping cough.

Officials say this is the first infant death in North Carolina in 2013.

"Infants cannot begin vaccination against whooping cough until they are 2 months old and even young children are not fully protected until they have finished a series of vaccinations," said Dr. Robin Cummings, acting state health director and DHHS deputy secretary for Health Services. "That is why it is so important that anyone who lives with or will be around a baby be vaccinated to prevent transmitting the disease."

The Health Department said the vaccine that protects against pertussis, as well as tetanus and diphtheria, known as Tdap, is recommended for all children more than 12 years old and adults who are in close contact with infants or older adults.

The pertussis vaccine is available through all state immunization providers, including private healthcare providers and local health departments. Some healthcare providers may charge an administration fee.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious illness that is spread from person to person usually by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. It is most serious for infants under 6 months old, health officials said. They said the illness can lead to pneumonia or death in that age group.

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