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Infant dies of whooping cough, third confirmed death this year in L.A. County, sixth in state

A third Los Angeles County infant has died of whooping cough, public health officials announced Tuesday.

The confirmation of the death -- the sixth pertussis-related death this year in the state -- comes a day after the California Department of Public Health expanded criteria for those who should be vaccinated against the highly contagious disease amid what is shaping up to be the worst outbreak in 50 years.

“This expanded set of recommendations is an appropriate response to the epidemic in Los Angeles County and statewide,” Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, the county’s public health director, said in a statement. “Vaccination is our best defense against pertussis. This is a disease that is especially dangerous for infants under six months of age, who are not old enough to have received the number of vaccine doses needed to be protected against whooping cough.”

So far this year, nearly 1,500 cases of whooping cough have been reported statewide, about 289 in Los Angeles County, including 184 laboratory-confirmed cases, officials said. All of those killed by the disease were infants.

Officials did not say how old the latest victim was, or when or where the death was reported.

Last year, 304 cases of whooping cough were reported statewide, including the deaths of three infants,  according to state public health officials. Slightly more than half the cases, 156, were reported in L.A. County, which had one of the deaths. 

In addition to the normal course of vaccines recommended for infants, state officials are now recommending vaccines for children age 7 and up, women of child-bearing age including those who are pregnant, those ages 65 and over and infant caregivers.

Early symptoms of whooping cough may be confused with a cold, and many do not develop the tell-tale “whooping” cough sound. Fielding urged those who suspect they might be ill to seek medical help immediately and ensure that their vaccines are up to date, especially if they live with or have contact with infants.

According to a recent study cited by L.A. County public health officials, when the source of an infant’s whooping cough infection could be identified, 41% contracted the disease from a sibling, 38% from their mother, and 17% from their father.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske
Comments () | Archives (19)

we'll i guess if you won't deport them we can kill'em off with the whooping cough

Thanks to all the folks that didn't vaccinate their child because they thought their little miracle would be autistic, YOU are responsible for the deaths of these infants.

Please, please have your children vaccined! There are so many immigrants that come from other countries w/o the proper medical care; thus, pass diseases onto to "us" Americans.

Big E, Do you mean like the way the Pilgrims brought over small pox. Yes, go back in history and get rid of the true invaders of this land first and foremost. The blood thirsty white man.

"we'll i guess if you won't deport them we can kill'em off with the whooping cough

Posted by: Big E | July 20, 2010 at 01:29 PM"

I can't believe the above comment was approved. Absolutely tasteless, LA Times.

LA County really is becoming a third world country. What's next, the plague? Si Se Puede! Viva Arizona!!!

Big E - you are a very sick person.

Big E -- it's NOT illegal immigrants who are responsible for the resurgence of whooping cough, measles, etc. It's American parents--most of them white, many of them upper middle-class or above--who think that vaccines are poison and "unnatural," that they cause autism, and that it's "beneficial" for children to get whooping cough "so their bodies learn to fight it naturally."

I thought Pertussis vaccinations were part of the standard package that all children get???

Am I wrong?

I think I remember that much from my own children.

@big E
I am sorry, but your comments are extremely in bad taste.
A lot of parents lost their precious infants. May God help them in this difficult time.

pertussis vaccine is in the required line-up . . . unfortunately the fad right now is not giving your infant or toddlers vaccines at all because of a flawed study the stated that vaccines were linked to autism. There are a slew of previously wiped out/rare illnesses in the US that are popping up again thanks to these parents. Just becaue no one in your mommy group is in contact with these diseases does not mean the man in the grocery store was not in a third world country last week. Sad thing is that a lot of the kids getting sick are too young for vaccines but their older sibling go to school with someone that isn't vaccinated that is spreading the illness :(

Terrible tragedy!!! I read elsewhere that California is considering it an epidemic. Hopefully they are taking the proper steps to make sure ample vaccines are available and informing/educating the people most at risk.

Tee: Yes, Whooping Cough is part of the schedule. The problem is that the immunity from the vaccine only lasts about 10 years, so most teenagers and adults are no longer immune. This leads to outbreaks amongst these groups, and they pass it on to young infants who are most at risk, and too young to be vaccinated.

There is no reliable treatment for the disease, and about 1in200 infants who catch it will die, even if they have access to neonatal intensive care.

The best protection for young infants is to ensure that all the adults and children around them have been vaccinated within the last 10 years.

It is not children spreading this it is adults that pass it to their own children....instead of blaming unvaxed people how about when you have a newborn you keep them home with you instead of rushing off back to work and putting them in daycare or go to playgroups constantly because you need to be with other adults because they are so bored at home.
Don't be stupid and hand off your newborn baby to every one
and they are kissing your baby all over their face breathing so close that is how it happens if people are smart about it and be more catious after 6 months then you can be more free they will have their vaxes then but before then do go galanvanting all over the world to stores and paydates it is not necessary and then you blame others

The main culprit is adults that pass this along and you want to know why because everyone does get the vaccine but it doesn't last then you don't catch it nautuarlly then by adulthood your vaccine wears off and you catch it but you don't realize it because it can be just like a cold or brochontitis

Ya know Grace, in a perfect world, I'm sure most mothers would prefer to stay home with their babies. Or better yet, how nice would it be if state disability paid for 6 months time off postpartum, eh? Get a grip.

Vaccinations are still the only answer. These precious babies should not be dying from a preventable disease.

Thanks Jocey's Mommy for the post.

Jocey's mommy.....Where is your proof that unvaccinated are spreading these diseases? I would love to see it. As far as I know, it is the vaccinated spreading this filth and numerous outbreaks (with the vaccine strains documented) are proof of this.

These diseases have been eradicated in the USA for many years because of vaccines. These same vaccines that aren't readily available in other countries. The latest "Fad" is for parents to claim "religious rights" to refuse their children the vaccines, hence killing their children and putting everyone else in the USA at risk. Infants under 6 months are too young to receive the whooping cough vaccine, however, their older sibling that wasn't vaccinated goes to school/church/playground/grocery store/etc. and gets exsposed and brings it home to baby........baby dies. Yes, these parents are diectly the cause of the loss of their children. The USA gives vaccines to all/any child who shows up for them, regardless of the ability to pay. It's not the poor, but mainly the "Hollywood" croud who feel the vaccine may harm their babies. That's where it started. Selfish to say the least, to put everyone at risk because of a few stupid people. The doctor who started this has actually lost his license, and look at the harm he's done!

Does anyone know how many of the peoople/children who contracted whooping cough were vaccinated?

Chris: the only disease that has been eradicated is smallpox.


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