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Baby dies from whooping cough in Orange Co.

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Updated: 4/27/2013 9:36 am
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. (WFTV) -- Orange County health officials said a baby died from whooping cough last week.

This is the first whooping cough death the county has seen in decades. Officials said it's been at least 20 years or more since someone died of the disease.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, and other diseases are making comebacks, because so many parents are deciding not to vaccinate their kids.

"It's really unfortunate. We're saddened to hear that an infant died of something like this," said Dain Weister with the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

Officials said the family chose not to vaccinate their child. Some parents are choosing not to fully vaccinate their children because they worry there is a link between the vaccinations and autism.

"A lot of people may not know (that) even the person who did that study admitted that study was flawed," Weister said.

Health officials said that has caused vaccinations to drop and the number of cases of measles, pertussis and other preventable diseases to go up.

Last year, Orange County had one case of measles and 42 cases of pertussis. This year there have already been four cases of measles and 12 cases of pertussis.

WFTV spoke to parents at the Orange County Health Department who said they don't want to take any chances.

"I feel like it's important so they can stay healthy and get all the shots and care that they need," parent Shaneatria Jones said.

Health officials believe the baby that died caught whooping cough from an adult.

Now they're urging parents to have their kids immunized to prevent another whooping cough death.
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