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Whooping cough can be deadly for infants, but 61 percent of adults don't know their vaccine status
Date:6/17/2013

the pertussis vaccine before visiting a newborn baby at home.

Pertussis vaccines are recommended for teens and adults (known as the "Tdap" vaccine), including pregnant women. Boosting immunity against pertussis among teens and adults is especially important for protecting newborns against the disease. Most infants who fall sick with pertussis got the illness from an older child or adult with pertussis.

"Welcoming a baby to the family is a wonderful time, and no one would want to put an infant at risk. So the results of this poll are encouraging because they indicate some awareness that visitors need to be protected against this disease," Davis says.

"Teens and adults who have received the Tdap vaccine are less likely to get whooping cough themselves, and therefore less likely to spread whooping cough to other people including infants who have not yet been protected by the recommended pertussis vaccinations."

Davis says he hopes the awareness among parents will increase the numbers of people seeking a booster vaccine.

"Expectant parents should have a conversation about pertussis vaccine with their family and close friends BEFORE the baby is born, to allow time for them to get their pertussis vaccine up to date," Davis says.

"If parents begin to take this approach, it may have a very positive impact decreasing the number of newborns who become severely ill or die as a result of pertussis."


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Contact: Mary Masson
mfmasson@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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