Infants’ whooping cough source likely siblings, study finds

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CHICAGO (AP) — A new study of whooping cough in infants is prompting experts to recommend boosting vaccination rates among pregnant women who can transfer some disease protection before birth.

The study of government data finds infants are more likely to catch whooping cough from their siblings than their moms, who were once considered the more common source of infection. The change is probably due in part to an increased frequency of whooping cough among school-aged children.

Infants face the greatest risk of severe illness and death from whooping cough, especially before 2 months, the recommended age for beginning a series of vaccinations.

Experts also recommend vaccinating parents and siblings, but the study results suggest that option may not be as effective as hoped.

Results were published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
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