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Jessica Chavez said it was just a normal trip to the hospital. Her 18-month-old daughter Adalena had come down with a mild virus, so she took her to Kaiser Permanente in south Sacramento in mid-to-late April.

But, when Adalena got sicker and sicker, Chavez said they went back to Kasier on May 12. Adalena was coughing uncontrollably and sometimes had difficulty breathing.

"I took her there to get better not to get worse," Chavez said.

Test results after that visit showed Adalena had Pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

"It really scared me. I was at work when I found out," Chavez said. "I broke down crying. It terrified me to death."

Then Chavez discovered an employee at the hospital went to work with pertussis in April at the same time Adalena was there. She said she believes her little girl contracted the potentially deadly disease at the hospital.

"They should have more strict rules and regulations for how they allow their employees be at work," Chavez said.

Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento's Chief of Infectious Disease Dr. John Belko released the following statement:

"Regarding recent media reports about the ongoing pertussis outbreak in Sacramento County, Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento did recently confirm that an employee, who was vaccinated against the disease, tested positive for pertussis. The employee left work as soon as symptoms appeared and was diagnosed.

"As a precaution Kaiser Permanente is contacting members and employees who may have been exposed to the employee as much as three weeks prior to the diagnosis because those infected with pertussis can carry the disease for some time before symptoms appear. Out of an abundance of caution, we are contacting members who may have been exposed between April 22 and May 6.

"Due to patient privacy laws, we cannot discuss specific patient cases."

Chavez said she's glad Kaiser is taking proactive steps to help stop the disease from spreading.

As of last week, the Sacramento County Health Department had 69 confirmed cases of whooping cough. Last year, there were just 59 cases.

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