The Grapevine

Minnesota Officials Issue Warning After Child Dies Of Pertussis

Public health officials in Minnesota have increased efforts to promote the benefits of vaccine against infections. The move comes after an infant died from pertussis. The highly contagious infection is expected to spread across communities in 2020. 

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) said pertussis, also known as whooping cough, remains as a concern in the state. The latest pediatric death linked to the infection is the first fatal case since 2013, Kare 11 News reported Wednesday.

Doctors confirmed the child contracted pertussis in August and was hospitalized for three months. The patient died of complications in November.

“We were extremely saddened to hear that this child passed away,” Kristen Ehresmann, director of infectious diseases at MDH, said. “Pertussis continues to be a concern in Minnesota, and we want to do everything we can to prevent future tragedies like this.”

In 2019, MDH recorded 25 infants less than six months old had whooping cough in Minnesota. Eight babies were hospitalized, while two patients were considered severe.

People of all ages can contract pertussis but the effects of whooping cough can be very serious and deadly for infants since they have smaller airwaves and have a higher risk of complications.

“Infants who get pertussis can get very sick and many need to be hospitalized,” Ehresmann added. “The severe cases often require lengthy hospital stays with weeks to months in an intensive care unit. It can be devastating for the family.”

Pertussis Vaccine 

Over the past years, the government has been promoting the health benefits of vaccines. Now, health officials are again increasing efforts to encourage parents to get themselves and their children vaccinated against pertussis. 

Pregnant women should also get vaccinated, especially in the third trimester. Experts said the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine can help prevent infection for both the mother and the baby. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that families follow an immunization schedule. For children, the vaccine should be provided at two months, four months, six months, 12 to 15 months, kindergarten and followed by a booster at 11 or 12 years old.

whooping cough The effects of whooping cough can be very serious and deadly for infants as they have smaller airwaves and have a higher risk of complications. Pixabay

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