A baby boy, who had been diagnosed with whooping cough, also known as pertussis, died at a San Diego hospital, becoming the first fatality from the disease in nearly a decade, county health officials said Thursday.
The month-old baby died Tuesday at Rady Children's Hospital, according to Fox News.
"This death is a tragedy for the family and the broader community,'' said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the county's deputy public health officer.
"The death is a reminder to parents to get themselves and their children vaccinated," said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Rady Children's Hospital.
"Infants are most vulnerable to complications from this disease because they are too young to get vaccinated,'' he said. "That's why vaccinating caregivers is a priority. By protecting yourself from the disease, you also protect your baby.''.
Fifteen infants have been hospitalized locally with whooping cough, also known as pertussis, according to the HHSA. This is the first fatality reported by the county.
A third baby has died of whooping cough in Los Angeles County, bringing the total to six deaths this year in California, reported on WPXI.
Whooping cough is highly contagious, and infants and young children are particularly vulnerable. The disease usually starts with syptoms such as, runny-nose, sneezing, a mild fever, and a dry cough.
The symptoms may be mild and brief, or last up to two weeks, but are often followed by severe coughing fits that may be associated with vomiting, according to the Mayo Clinic.
For more information about whooping cough, go to Health and Human Services