According to the City of Austin, Texas Department of Health and Human Services, an infant hospitalized with whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) died recently in hospital. The infant, who was too young to receive the first pertussis vaccine (DTaP or Tdap), was one of 41 confirmed or probably cases of whooping cough in the city of Austin.
An infant cannot be vaccinated with DTaP (the vaccine for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) until they are about 2 months old. However, because infants are susceptible to whooping cough, all adults, children, friends, relatives, everyone, who is in contact with that child should be vaccinated against pertussis, a process called cocooning.
“This is a sad and tragic event,” said Dr. Philip Huang, Medical Director for Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services. “Because the disease can make babies so sick, and they can catch it from anyone around them, they need protection.”
The Austin Department of Health and Human Services provided the following advice, based on CDC recommendations, to help protect babies from whooping cough:
- If you are pregnant, get vaccinated in your third trimester.
- Surround your baby with vaccinated family members and caregivers.
- Make sure your baby gets all doses of whooping cough vaccine according to CDC’s recommended schedule.
- If you or your child experience cold-like symptoms that develop into a severe cough after 1 to 2 weeks contact your healthcare provider immediately.
No child, no infant, should die of a vaccine preventable disease like whooping cough. And to those of you in the antivaccination “movement” who think that these diseases aren’t that dangerous–think again. These diseases kill.