Wed, Jan 19, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Baby girl dies of whooping cough, DOH urges jabs

Staff Writer, with CNA

A six-week old child died from whooping cough on Wednesday last week, the first such case in eight years, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday.

The DOH advised that women of child-bearing age should be vaccinated against whooping cough to prevent newborns catching it.

The baby girl who died last week had symptoms including coughing, a fever and vomiting, which are all typical of whooping cough.

It was the first reported whooping cough death since 2003, when an infant boy died of the highly contagious bacterial disease.

The baby girl was too young to be inoculated against the disease, said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Lin Ting (林頂), noting that the whooping cough vaccine is mandatory for infants at the ages of 18 months, two, four, six and for first-year elementary school students.

The infant’s mother was coughing for days before she went into labor, but it is not clear what the source of the infection was, Lin said.

The potentially deadly disease could have been transmitted from the parents, medical staff, or any infected adult who came close to the baby, Lin said.

In adults, the symptoms of whooping cough could be less noticeable and not as serious, he said.

“Pregnant women are advised to get vaccinated either before or shortly after giving birth because they have direct contact with infants,” he said, adding that children under six months are listed as a high risk group for whooping cough.

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