Whooping cough, or pertussis, is on the rice in the United States. In 2012, there were over 48,000 reported cases, the highest number since 1955, according to the CDC. For many years mothers were blamed for passing the infections to their children, but now older children are the main source.
A recent study found that the newest whooping cough vaccine doesn’t last as long as the older vaccine. The switch was made over a period of years during the 1990s. One of the study’s authors, Tami Skoff, said the vaccine is effective in the short term, but children must get boosters even after their last dose which is usually around 5-years-old.
Even though vaccinated children can catch whooping cough, the effects are not as severe as they would be to an unvaccinated child. However, they can also pass the infection to infants who are unable to receive the vaccine. Over half of children under 1-year-old who have whooping cough end up in the hospital.
The CDC and most medical doctors recommend the following steps in order to protect infants from this dangerous infection.
- Get a pertussis booster during pregnancy. Mothers should receive the Tdap during their third trimester and anyone living in the home with the infant should be up to date on their boosters. Research has found that the vaccine is safe during pregnancy.
- All Americans ages 11-years and older should have at least one Tdap booster.
- Go to the doctor or hospital as soon as you see signs of whooping cough. Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease.