Newborn Infant Dies From Whooping Cough

August 18, 2011


Pertussis or "whooping-cough" cases are up more than 50% this year in Snohomish County

The Snohomish Health District which covers Everett and all of Snohomish County is reporting a newborn child died Tuesday from pertussis or “whooping-cough”. Suzanne Pate, public information officer for the Snohomish Health District tells me the death occurred in a small town east of Everett. Pate says they’re seeing an increase in the number of cases of whooping cough in Snohomish County with 52 confirmed cases so far this year, compared to 25 confirmed cases for all of 2010. Of the confirmed cases thus far in 2011, 8 were infants younger than 1-year-old; 8 were young children age 1-5; 19 were age 6-17; and 17 were adults. The cases occurred throughout the county. No schools have been closed for pertussis outbreaks.

“It’s important to surround infants with a protective “cocoon‟ of immunity because a newborn is too young to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, Health Officer and Director of Snohomish Health District. “”If you or your children have been coughing for more than two weeks please call your health care provider and discuss whether you and your family should be seen and tested for whooping-cough.”

Small children and infants are especially at risk of illness. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (ACIP/CDC) recently recommended fully immunizing women against pertussis during their pregnancies in lieu of waiting to vaccinate post partum.

The initial symptoms of pertussis appear as an ordinary cold, with runny nose, sneezing, and a mild cough. It progresses within two weeks and can persist for months to include severe coughing in fits or spasms followed by a whooping sound, and vomiting.

Pate says whooping-cough is out in the community and so are the vaccines. She says the best way to prevent whooping-cough is to get vaccinated. Here’s a link to the whooping-cough information on the Snohomish Health District’s website.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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