How do infants contract pertussis (whooping cough)?

Updated: May 02, 2019
  • Author: Joseph J Bocka, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Evidence is overwhelming that parents and older siblings are the primary source of infection in young infants. The incidence of pertussis in preadolescents, adolescents, and adults has increased and may be responsible for the increasing number of cases observed in young infants in some countries. A study from the Netherlands concluded that 35-55% of pertussis cases in infants could be prevented if immunity to pertussis in parents were maintained or boosted. [33]


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