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California Health Officials Issue Whooping Cough Warning To Pregnant Women

Photo credit: Mike Mozart\flickr

A sign advertising whooping cough shots is displayed in a CVS parking lot, Aug. 14, 2014.

Doctors recommend that pregnant women get the pertussis vaccine in their third trimester. That offers babies some short-term protection, until they can receive their first pertussis shot when they’re two-months old.

California health officials are warning pregnant women about the dangers of whooping cough. Officials estimate less than half of all prospective mothers are vaccinated against the disease.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is especially dangerous for infants. About half of all babies under one year of age who get the disease are hospitalized.

Babies are often infected by their parents. Doctors recommend that pregnant women get the pertussis vaccine in their third trimester. That offers babies some short-term protection, until they can receive their first pertussis shot when they’re two-months old.

California suffered an epidemic of whooping cough last year, racking up 11,203 cases. Health officials say the state has seen 3,404 cases so far this year, which is still considered to be quite high.

The California Department of Public Health said San Diego County's rate of pertussis this year is much higher than the statewide average.

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