FILE - This Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 file photo shows an empty bottle of Tetanus, Diphthera and Pertussis, (whooping cough) vaccine at Inderkum High School in Sacramento, Calif. Health officials say the U.S. is on track to have the worst year for whooping cough in more than five decades. Nearly 18,000 cases have been reported so far - more than twice the number seen at this point last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday, July 19, 2012. At this pace, the number of whooping cough cases will surpass every year since 1959. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
State officials are reporting North Carolina's first death from whooping cough in 2013.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that a 3-week-old from Transylvania County died from pertussis. No additional details were made available.
Acting State Health Director Dr. Robin Cummings said infants cannot begin vaccination against whooping cough until they are 2 months old. She said even young children are not fully protected until they have finished a series of vaccinations.
Cummings said it's important that anyone who lives with or is around a baby should be vaccinated. DTaP is a vaccine that helps children younger than age 7 develop immunity to diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough. Tdap is a booster immunization given at age 11 or older that offers extended protection.
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