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Minnesota health officials say the death of an infant has been linked to whooping cough.
The baby died in November after being hospitalized for three months, the Department of Health said Wednesday.
The last pediatric death related to pertussis, or whooping cough, was in 2013.
The department’s preliminary data shows that in 2019 there were 25 cases of pertussis in babies less than 6 months. Of those, eight were hospitalized, and two of the hospitalized cases were severe.
Anyone can get pertussis, but it is most severe in infants, according to health officials. They are emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially during pregnancy, to help prevent pertussis.
Kristen Ehresmann, the department’s director of infectious disease, said the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis, or Tdap, vaccine is recommended during the third trimester of each pregnancy.
When the Tdap vaccine is given during pregnancy, the mother’s body creates antibodies to fight off the pertussis bacteria, Ehresmann said. Some of those antibodies are passed to the baby before birth and offer short-term protection until the baby can be vaccinated.