Baby dies from whooping cough in Orange County, health officials confirm

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Orange County Health Care Agency officials Thursday said that a baby has died from whooping cough.

Health officials said that this is the first pertussis-related death of an infant in the county for more than a decade and the first in the state since 2018.

Officials did not immediately release the gender of the infant or when the death occurred.

Pertussis, more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory ailment that can spread through coughing and sneezing.

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 whooping cough.

"Maternal vaccination during pregnancy has been found to be 90 percent 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.''

CNS contributed to this report.