Infants More Prone to Catch Whooping Cough from Siblings than Mothers: Study

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Marji_080915According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, infants are more likely to catch whooping cough from their siblings rather than their mothers.

Whooping cough is a contagious respiratory disease that can affect people of all ages, primarily infants and children. The disease can lead to complications and even death, especially for babies. Statistics show that almost half of all babies in the U.S. who contract this disease are hospitalized.

The study, conducted by Tami H. Skoff of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), observed 1,306 cases of infant pertussis (whooping cough) between 2006 and 2013.

Skoff and colleagues discovered that 66.6% of whooping cough cases are transferred by immediate family members—35.5% of which originate from siblings, 20.6% from mothers, and 10% from fathers.

Study authors believe that the shift in transmission reflects the “evolving epidemiology of pertussis in the United States.” They also believe that the fading immunity from pertussis vaccines amongst children is a contributing factor.

Researchers are calling for more protection for “young infants in the first few months of life before immunizations begin.”

Sources for Today’s Article:
Skoff, T.H., et al., “Sources of infant pertussis infection in the United States,” Pediatrics 2015, doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1120.
Brazier, Y. “Infants more likely to catch whooping cough from siblings than mothers,” Medical News Today web site, September 7, 2015;