Whooping cough in infants is more recently linked to siblings according to a new Center for Disease Control and Prevention research.
Previous reports linked whooping cough or pertussis as the condition is scientifically coined to mothers. But a shift in vaccination choices resulted in a shift in the general trend.
Whooping cough registered cases increased exponentially in the past years across the U.S. In 2012 a number of 48,000 cases were registered nationwide according to CDC reports and Tami Skoff, investigator with the health agency.
Both children and teenagers are increasingly reported to represent a high number of the total cases. Shifting from the conventional whooping cough vaccine to DTaP vaccine in the 1990s is a key factor for this trend shift.
DTaP is highly effective on the short-term. However, its long-term effects are fading as the years pass by. The last dose a child receives is administered at the age of 5 or 6. Following, the effects are waning.
Vaccinated children who do catch the infection will not feel the symptoms as strongly. However, the risk of passing the whooping cough to their unvaccinated siblings, typically to infants is quite high and may lead to severe health complications. Over half of the infants infected with the whooping cough require constant medical attention according to the CDC study.
The first dose of DTaP that an infant receives is administered at the age of 2 months. Previously, the underdeveloped immune system could not cope with the vaccine. In this period of time, infants are prone to contracting the whooping cough from family members, particularly their older siblings. The next doses are administered at 4 months old, 6 months old, followed by 15 and 18 months old, with the final doses being administered somewhere between 4 and 6 years old, depending on the case.
Health authorities recommend that during pregnancy, the future mother receives one shot of Tdap during the first trimester. This would ensure that the immune system antibodies are transmitted to the infant, offering a partial and short-term protection against the whooping cough.
The study, published in the Pediatrics journal states that from all the cases under analysis, the source of infection in the case of infants could only be identified in 44 percent of the cases.
In 36 percent of the cases, the siblings were passing on the whooping cough to the infants. Mothers were identified as the source in 21 percent of cases, while fathers accounted for 10 percent of the whooping cough infection cases.
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