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)
A 2-month-old from Forsyth County is the state's first victim this year of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.
Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say the infant died earlier this month.
Children are supposed to be vaccinated against the disease at 2 months of age, then again at 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4- to 6-years-old. By age 11, children also should have a pertussis booster shot. Doctors advise that adults in contact with children also should be vaccinated.
Whooping cough is highly contagious and usually is spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. It's life-threatening in newborns and infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. It can be serious at any age.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)