Pertussis disease in new mothers: effect on young infants and strategies for prevention

Gerbie, M. V.; Tan, T. Q.

Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Jan 22; 113(2 Pt 1):399-401

Abstract

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a major public health problem in the United States, with the incidence of disease and its associated complications having significantly increased in the adolescent and adult populations. These populations serve as the major transmission source of the disease to young infants, a group that is at the highest risk of severe morbidity and mortality from the disease. Studies have shown that new parents, especially mothers, are the source of disease transmission in more than 50% of the cases. Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis booster vaccines (Tdap) are licensed for use in adolescent and adult populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the Tdap vaccine be given to postpartum women as soon as possible after delivery and before hospital discharge to protect them and their newborns against pertussis disease. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that its membership follow the CDC recommendations. This article includes a further discussion of the rationale for this recommendation and provides possible strategies for vaccine implementation.

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