The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday the first infant death in 2013 attributable to whooping cough, or pertussis.
The child, who was 3 weeks old, was from Transylvania County.
"Infants cannot begin vaccination against whooping cough until they are 2 months old, and even young children are not fully protected until they have finished a series of vaccinations," said Dr. Robin Cummings, acting state health director and DHHS deputy secretary for Health Services. "That is why it is so important that anyone who lives with or will be around a baby be vaccinated to prevent transmitting the disease."
Pertussis vaccine is available through all state immunization providers, including private health care providers and local health departments. Some health care providers may charge an administration fee.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious illness that is spread from person-to-person usually by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others.
For more information on pertussis vaccine, click here.