Whooping Cough Vaccine & Treatment: Siblings Likeliest Source of Whooping Cough Infection Among Infants -- How To Protect Your Baby

Mothers are no longer the main source of whooping cough among infants. In a recent study, it was revealed that the frequency by which the condition is transferred to babies through contact with their sibling has increased. The researchers believe that such shift in the situation is the result of a more prevalent occurrence of coughs and colds among grade school children nowadays.

"The findings reveal that 66.6 percent of cases are passed on by immediate family members, of which 35.5 percent now originate from siblings, with mothers accounting for only 20.6 percent and fathers accounting for just 10 percent," notes Medical News Today.

According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, whooping cough or pertussis is defined as "a serious disease that can cause babies to stop breathing." This disease is noted as "very contagious" and regarded as "most serious for babies." According to the organization, the people infected with pertussis tend to spread the illness through coughing or sneezing when in the same vicinity as others. As a result, those in the area would "breathe in the bacteria that cause the disease." In the past, doctors have identified moms as the major sources of the bacteria. However, the new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

"It's quite contagious," shares Kathryn M. Edwards, MD, according to WebMD. The director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program adds, "It makes you cough, which is an effective way for the organism to spread." Hence, the simple acts of sneezing and merely breathing could cause the carrier of the bacteria to spread pertussis in the household.

Dr James Cherry, an expert on the infectious diseases ailing children, also warned of the risks entailed by exposing infants to an environment with someone who is suffering from whooping cough. He says, "Most deaths from whooping cough occur in babies under 4 months old, and most of these babies have gotten it from their parents, particularly their mothers."

One of the most common ways to prevent the transfer of pertussis bacteria to infants is for the people surrounding the baby to get vaccinated. In this manner, the risk of incurring the disease through the adults and children around the home would be minimized. Hence, the people who should immediately get vaccinated include the parents of the infant, siblings and caretakers. Another strategy to protect the infant from pertussis is to have the pregnant woman vaccinated. In this manner, the mom will be able to transfer some protection to the infant once he or she is born.

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