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'Whooping cough’ kills Travis County infant

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Travis County Health and Human Services has reported that an infant has died in Travis County from ‘whooping cough,’ also known as pertussis.

Whooping cough is caused by the bacterium bordetella pertussis, and can affect anyone, but is particularly dangerous to babies and young children. It is spread as the bacteria are discharged from the carrier by coughing or sneezing, and then becomes airborne whereby it is inhaled by others in the vicinity. Pertussis has an incubation period of four to 42 days where the carrier may show no symptoms of the disease, but has the ability to infect others.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims the best way to prevent pertussis is through immunization, but be aware that the vaccinations become less effective with time, so periodic boosters are required.