Whooping cough has claimed the life of a 3-week-old baby in San Joaquin County.
“Our hearts go out to the family of this baby,” said Dr. Alvaro Garza, San Joaquin County public health officer.
The infant’s death was the first in the county this year from whooping cough. There have been 22 other cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, in San Joaquin County.
There were 215 cases of pertussis last year in San Joaquin County, a sharp increase from 2013 when only 27 cases were reported, according to the California Department of Public Health.
In Sacramento County, there were 70 in 2013 and 448 last year. California public health officials say the state is experiencing a whooping cough epidemic.
Whooping cough peaks every three to five years. The last epidemic occurred in the state in 2010, with 9,159 reported cases. The state had 11,114 cases last year.
Pertussis is highly contagious, usually spread by coughing or sneezing. The disease may be life-threatening for newborns or infants, who are too young to be fully vaccinated.
“It is important to note that neither pertussis disease nor vaccine provides lifelong immunity, so childhood vaccinations and booster shots for older children and adults are the best prevention measures,” stated a press release from San Joaquin Public Health Services.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.