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Pertussis cases keep rising, and one woman's story resonates more than ever

June 3, 2010 |  9:00 pm

Bianchi Those whooping cough numbers are stretching ever higher in California.

State health officials reported Thursday that the state has seen a threefold increase over this time last year. Check out the L.A. Now post here.

Lest you think adults vaccinated as children can't get whooping cough, lest you think they can't pass it on to their infants, lest you think those infants can't die, read Mariah Bianchi's story.

She was vaccinated as a child against whooping cough. She passed it to her infant son, Dylan. He died of the disease, also called pertussis, when he was 17 days old.

Here's more on whooping cough from KidsHealth. And here's information on whooping cough vaccination for infants -- and adults -- from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As the CDC notes:

"Infants under the age of 12 months have more serious illness from pertussis and they are more likely to have complications and be hospitalized than persons in other age groups. In the 1990s, about two thirds of infants reported with pertussis were hospitalized. Infants are more likely to have pneumonia or convulsions. Infants also are at greatest risk of fatal pertussis. In recent years, 8 to 40 infant deaths from pertussis are reported to CDC annually."

In other words, they can't protect themselves; we have to do it for them.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Mariah Bianchi holds a pendant with an image of Dylan's handprint.

Credit: Robert Durell / For the Times