Maricopa County infant dies of whooping cough

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The death of a Maricopa County infant from whooping cough is prompting health officials to urge residents to make sure they're vaccinated.

The highly contagious respiratory infection formally called pertussis can be fatal to the very young but is preventable by getting an immunization called Tdap.

Infants can't get a shot until they're two months old and aren't fully protected until getting a third dose at 6 months, so mothers and others in the home are being urged to make sure they're vaccinated. The infant who died wasn't old enough to be immunized and likely was infected by an adult.

Infants commonly get pertussis from an infected family member or caregiver.

The Maricopa County Public Health Department says it counted nearly 700 confirmed cases of whooping cough in 2011.

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