Pertussis in the House

January 8, 2019 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff

The Question: Where do infants too young for the pertussis immunization contract pertussis?

The Study: Infants under three months of age are too young to be immunized against this infectious disease. In this British study of 63 infants under three months of age who became ill with pertussis, all the household contacts of these infants were tested for pertussis.

The Results: Of the total of 220 contacts who were tested for pertussis, 86% of the households had at least one adult testing positive. Another way to look at it is that 44% of the adults tested were positive for pertussis. Coughing, a common symptom of pertussis, was absent in 29% of the adults who tested positive. A probable source of the infection was found in 46% of the cases – mothers were the source in 38% of cases, siblings 31%, fathers 10%, and another household contact 21% of the time.

Comment: This study demonstrates the need for everyone to receive proper immunizations when there’s a newborn in the house.

Read More: Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 02/17