Orange County infant dies from whooping cough

Health officials urge parents to have children immunized

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ORLANDO, Fla. - An infant has died from whooping cough, according to Orange County health officials, who say the death likely could have been prevented.

Details about the child were not released by health officials, who only said that the child did not receive a vaccination for the disease.

The Orange County Health Department says it's seen a recent spike in cases of whooping cough and measles. 

Health officials say the problem stems, in part, because more parents are not vaccinating their children over worries about a possible link between vaccines and autism.  The Health Department says studies showing a link to autism are flawed. 

Health officials are urging parents to make sure all family members are up to date on their immunizations.

"Immunization is a shared responsibility. Families, healthcare professionals and public health officials must work together to help protect the entire community," said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, director of the Department of Health in Orange County.

The CDC reported more than 41,000 cases of whooping cough in the United States in 2012, including 18 deaths, which is the highest number of cases in any one year in the U.S. since 1955.  Most of the deaths were in children younger than 1 year old.

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