'Prevent whooping cough in young infants with booster jab for parents'

A booster vaccination for parents of new babies and other household members may be the most effective way of preventing the fatal form of whooping cough in young infants, according to a group of paediatric intensive care doctors.

Photograph: iStockphoto/Mark Goddard
Photograph: iStockphoto/Mark Goddard

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a distressing infectious disease which affects infants and young children.

Vaccination is effective and and is usually given to infants at 2 to 4 months of age, with a further booster after 3 years.

But evidence is growing that the incidence of pertussis is rising in adolescents and adults.

The team from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh concludes that the introduction of an adult booster or more targeted vaccination of household contacts of young infants should be considered.

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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