Riverside County Infant Dies from Whooping Cough, First in State This Year

According to the California Department of Public Health, the 6-month-old tot had not been vaccinated for whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Photo author: Stethoscopes /  From: Wikimedia Commons
Photo author: Stethoscopes / From: Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note:  This story originally stated that the child who died was 6-months-old.  

The Riverside County Department of Public Health says the baby was just 2-months-old, though the state had said they were older.

The child was not identified, though county health department Communicable Diseases Specialist Barbara Cole confirmed the infant was from the southwest county area.


A Riverside County child died of complications related to whopping cough, in the first known fatal case in the state this year, health officials said Friday.

According to the County Department of Public Health, the 2-month-old tot had not been vaccinated for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, and apparently the infant's mother had not received a booster shot while she was pregnant.  

"This serves as a sad reminder that illnesses like whooping cough are still very much with us, and immunizations are the first line of defense," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, public health officer for Riverside County. "We strongly encourage pregnant women to get vaccinated, all parents to vaccinate their children on time, and for adults to keep current with their booster shots to reduce the spread of the disease."

Pertussis vaccinations can begin when a child is as young as 2 months old, health officials said.

California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ron Chapman said pregnant mothers can get a pertussis booster by their third trimester.

"Preventing deaths in infants by ensuring that all pregnant women get vaccinated is our primary goal in pertussis control," Chapman said. "When pregnant women are vaccinated, the immunity they develop against pertussis is passed to their infants and helps protect infants until they are old enough to be vaccinated themselves. Young infants are at the greatest risk of severe or fatal pertussis."

Health officials noted that whooping cough cases had moderated since peaking in 2010, when 9,100 cases and 10 deaths were reported in California. However, the number of infections began to surge again last summer, and 83 percent of those with symptoms were youths under 18 -- 12 percent of whom were infants less than 6 months old, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Officials said children need five doses of pertussis vaccine before they reach kindergarten, while adults should be inoculated if they're in regular contact with toddlers or are healthcare workers.

Pertussis usually starts with flu-like symptoms, such as runny nose, sneezing, fever and a mild cough. The symptoms may be mild and brief, or last for weeks, and are often followed by severe coughing fits.

In children, coughing spells end with a whooping sound. However, infants may not reveal the typical symptoms but instead turn red or purple from hampered breathing, according to health officials.

– City News Service.

Epolicious February 08, 2014 at 10:11 AM
That's right Alek, spot on. Just like the potato famine followed the Irish immigrants to America, this is what'll happen with these tropical people. I haven't had good french fries in yrs! Damn you immigrants... Libi, absolutely right. many Americans nowadays believe that picking up a religious pamphlet or jumping on WebMD will answer their medical needs. Unfortunately many people have lost faith in the system to the point where they are now denouncing these true and tried vaccinations. Either way it is sad that the family lost a child.
Lori Koczor February 08, 2014 at 10:38 AM
So tragic and unnecessary a death! Can't believe that parents do not get their babies immunized, and listen to their doctors. As an employee in medical offices, i immunized many children, thank God. Parents of the "new wave" are wrong to risk their children, sad.
SAM442 February 08, 2014 at 11:07 AM
You people do know that over 90 percent of people who are developing the whooping cough are already vaccinated for the whooping cough .@ alexander if vaccines work soooo well ..how is anyone putting a vaccinated child at risk ??? You don't trust your vaccines ? Who in their right mind would get vaccine when they're pregnAnt? ? This is why their is so many developmental delays and auto immune issues !!! Do YOUR RESEARCH PEOPLE YOU ALL ARE A BUNCH OF SHEEP !!! PEOPLE DIE It's PART OF LIFE !! Ya make that mom feel like its her fault ..You people probably gave your day old baby the hep b shot when it left the hospital just in case he or she was going to have sex or use Iv drugs the second day of their life !!! What a joke Libi ------ you shouldn't live in this part of the world ..I will herd all you sheep up and send you off !!
carol elder February 08, 2014 at 11:14 AM
Wow, Sam. A little off today?????
Libi Uremovic February 08, 2014 at 11:24 AM
i didn't give my kid vaccines as a baby, but i lived on an isolated island in the west indies, so my kid wasn't exposed to the masses ... i walk the walk, so fk you for using your own kids as guinea pigs instead of properly taking care of them..... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- the problem with too many 'parents' today is that their kids are used as a pawn for their personal agendas.... ---------------------------------------------------------------------- if you don't want to vaccinate your kid then you have to protect them in other ways, but that would take effort on your part - so it's not happening... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Libi Uremovic February 08, 2014 at 11:28 AM
if you don't want to vaccinate your kid then don't put them in public schools .... go pay for a private school that doesn't have a vaccination requirement and see how much you really like it... -------------------------------------------------------------------------- a few years ago a private school in san diego that didn't believe in vaccinations had to shut down because some kid brought in a disease and of course since none of the kids were vaccinated it spread like wildfire... -------------------------------------------------------------------------- you have the right to live as you choose, but you don't have the right to contaminate the rest of the population ....
SAM442 February 08, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Excuse me you Libi you can't get your point across without cussing ..did anywhere in that statement say I don't vaccinate !!! Maybe I do maybe I don't ..maybe o choose a different schedule. .for your info I protect my children In many ways they are probably way healthier then your Gmo eating vaccinated self ! Poof your gone not much to say to someone can cuss on a newsfeed ..grow up lady or go back to the island you came from !!
Libi Uremovic February 08, 2014 at 12:04 PM
'''. you Libi you can't get your point across without cussing ..' -------------------------------------------------------------------------- it is my 1st amendment right to speak any way i choose - so fk you again.... --------------------------------------------------------------------------- censorship is a form of control ... you're very into social control when it suits you .....imagine that...
carol elder February 08, 2014 at 12:07 PM
I've got to say, I agree with Libi's second post. And, once again Sam, you're more offensive than the cussing. I'm a school district nurse and parents might be surprised to find out how many "parents" are NOT vaccinating their children.
SAM442 February 08, 2014 at 12:12 PM
No I just think your low class you lose any credibility. .I don't want to censor anyone ..just keep it classy!!
Katie Rucker February 08, 2014 at 01:07 PM
If you think that you shouldn't vaccinate your children, just read this article written from the perspective of a person whose parents didn't vaccinate them. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2014/01/growing_up_unvaccinated_a_healthy_lifestyle_couldn_t_prevent_many_childhood.html
Libi Uremovic February 08, 2014 at 01:12 PM
'...how many "parents" are NOT vaccinating their children. ...' ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- carol - do you know if they changed the requirements so the parent has to bring a 'doctor's note' or something to get a vaccine waver ..???
lisamarie February 08, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Wow no class!!
kristin c February 08, 2014 at 02:07 PM
They're always posting when someone contracts a disease that is supposedly preventable by vaccinating. What you never see is how many kids have fatal or near fatal reactions to vaccines. It isn't even recommended a pregnant dog be vaccinated yet they're pushing vaccines on pregnant women. It shouldn't be mandatory that anything be injected into our bodies. If those who don't vaccinate and want to take the risk, they should be allowed to do so without scrutiny from anyone else. For those who put all their trust into vaccinating, your child us vaccinated so there should be no worries on your end. It is our job as parents to protect our children. Some feel that vaccinating them is protection and some feel
kristin c February 08, 2014 at 02:10 PM
Continued...that vaccinating is harmful.. it has nothing to do with an agenda. People from both sides of the argument need to show a little grace to the other side instead of condemning them.
kristin c February 08, 2014 at 02:18 PM
BTW, I know several unvaccinated children and the only illnesses they've had are flus and colds. The one year I took a flu shot in the arm, I got the flu so bad I was in bed for 2 weeks.. as far as the whooping cough vaccine goes, babies are actually being infected by people who are vaccinated. For your own research.. don't go by what popular opinion is. Our government made it do people have to see a doctor to be advised of the "dangers" of not vaccinating their children in order to waive the vaccine requirement. Do they not realize that people have done their research and it is that research that has brought them to the decision not to vaccinate? Alec, since AIDS , tb, and typhus are not preventable by vaccine, what's your point? And now can AIDS resurface if it was never below the surface go begin with?
Janise February 08, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Most over looked the first paragraph of this post. This baby was the first in California this year. Now what's the infant population in California? Nation? Now look at how many of these posts were full of angry commenters? Do you see how it works? FEAR. This is how "For Profit Companies" get You. Fear! For those of you who are scared, get vaccinated with the "False sense of Security vaccine". If anyone wants to blame other races and call them "Third World", the vary people who work the jobs you'd never care to do- shame on you. Those people who probably can't afford heath care or don't make enough to get it, are also at risk of getting your diseases as well so you can have your stupid bowl of strawberries. If anything there's a pandemic disease of ignorance and racism still here in America and I don't see anyone running to get a vaccine for that. Vaccines are a Choice. Ditch the America Diet, rebuild your immune system that God gave you and exercise. P.S Viruses Mutate, Bacteria becomes resistant. Enjoy the next 40+ yrs getting vaccinated. If you don't die of something else that a vaccine can't protect you from.
Janise February 08, 2014 at 03:37 PM
You're probably wondering why on earth I mentioned Bacteria. Dr's also abuse this prescription. My Dog who had a rash all over his body for 2 yrs was given antibiotics on and off for 2 years, turns out he just kept getting Yeast Infections on his skin do to Dr's prescribing it in the first place. Reason for rash that started it all was never found out, despite $200 in tests. Antibiotics destroy Your first line of defense, the good bacteria in your stomach. Gee, there goes one wall of the immune system. My son had an ear infection, Dr wanted to give him Anti's. I asked is there another way? He said, No. I took a chance and put Garlic Oil in my sons ear. 3 days later the Dr confirmed the Ear Infection was gone. Just saying.
Alexander Cuttleworth February 08, 2014 at 10:43 PM
Kristin, I have no idea what you are talking about. I never mentioned AIDS, TB or Typhus at all. I specifically referred to Whooping Cough. With proper hygiene, many diseases are preventive but that assumes that hygiene is followed. How many times have you seen someone leave a bathroom without properly washing their hands? Actually, AIDS is preventable for the most part. And while I never mentioned Third World countries either, it is a fact that many countries have a higher rate of diseases that we no longer have in the US, possibly due to nutrition, hygiene, living condition, water quality, etc. I'm old enough to have known people who contracted polio. I wouldn't want to see anyone spend months or years in an iron lung and then suffer debilitating symptoms as they age. If you decide not to vaccinate, that's fine but please, stay away from other people.
GD February 09, 2014 at 01:01 AM
The vaccination debate aside... the first pertussis vaccination is normally given at two months, the age of the baby who died. This is also the first infant to die of pertussis in CA since 2010.
Tired February 09, 2014 at 09:34 AM
Flu vaccine does not cause the flu. It is a dead virus. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. Vaccines don't cause autism. Paranoia is rampant among conspiracy theorists. Ignorance is running rampant right now. Funny how many of the anti vacciners are also global warming advocates. What happened to their great science belief. So I guess if we didn't vaccinate for polio it would have just gone away on its own?
SAM442 February 09, 2014 at 10:21 AM
Pathetic Patch why couldn't I comnent yesterday !!!!
SAM442 February 09, 2014 at 10:47 AM
Wow these scientists have cured how many diseases in the past decade or sooo !! Just because they wear a mask doesn't make them scientists! The vaccines have gotten out of control maybe you can get a vaccine for being tired or maybe it's the vaccines that are making you tired ..Do you know what's in vaccines ?? You might have a different story if your child was injured from a vaccine !! I guess ignorance must have injured him !! Or maybe it was ignorance and money and big pharma!! I'm not a conspiracy theorist !!! I'm just not all believing ..you can't herd me up .. No sheep here ..
SAM442 February 09, 2014 at 11:33 AM
*just because they wear a mask doesn't mAke them a scientist that knows what's best for our children ..is what I meant to say .
AmandaML February 09, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Alexander, Kristin was referring to one of the first comments made by Alek. This baby was just two months old before the pertussis vaccine is even given, so everyone stop saying this could have easily been prevented. You're just laying unnecessary blame on the parents who I'm sure are beside themselves.
kristin c February 09, 2014 at 01:04 PM
Over vaccination in dogs is linked to auto immune disease. In the last decade, it has been recommended that dogs be vaccinated every 3 years instead of every year. In cats, there is a malignant tumor that arises in the spot the vaccine was given .. if you've ever seen your vet give a vaccine under the skin in the leg, that's why. It allows for amputation of the limb should one of these tumors pop up. Also it isn't even recommended that puppies receive their first vaccine until 6 weeks of age yet the first vaccine in a human is the day their born.
kristin c February 09, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Tired, not true about anti vacciners and global warming.. the left wingers who support global the warming lie are the ones who drink their kool aid and do everything the government tells them to do.
James Lauerman February 09, 2014 at 03:42 PM
carol elder February 09, 2014 at 05:13 PM
The baby was 6 months old. Still don't know enough to blame anyone. Even if I did, it's not our job to blame. All in all it's a death and that's terrible.
AmandaML February 09, 2014 at 05:19 PM
Carol, if you read the editors note at the top if the article you'll see the baby was actually two months old.


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