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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A 2-month-old from Forsyth County is the state’s first victim this year of pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

Officials with the state Department of Health and Human Services say the infant died earlier this month.

Children are supposed to be vaccinated against the disease at 2 months of age, then again at 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months and 4- to 6-years-old. By age 11, children also should have a pertussis booster shot. Doctors advise that adults in contact with children also should be vaccinated.

Whooping cough is highly contagious and usually is spread by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. It’s life-threatening in newborns and infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. It can be serious at any age.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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