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State launches whooping cough vaccine campaign

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:40 a.m. HST, Apr 25, 2013

State health officials are urging pregnant women and those who are in close contact with babies to get vaccinated against pertussis.

Pertussis is commonly known as whopping cough. It's a very contagious illness that can result in death, especially for infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated.

State Health Director Loretta Fuddy said Wednesday officials are most concerned about infants younger than 2 months.

In addition to caregivers and family members who are in close contact with infants, pregnant women are now recommended to receive the vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. Protective antibodies transferred during pregnancy can help safeguard infants until they are old enough to be vaccinated.

About 70 cases of pertussis were reported to the state health department last year.

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