Siblings Most Commonly Reported Source of Infant Pertussis Infection

HealthDay News — Siblings are the most likely source of pertussis infection in infants, according to new research published online in Pediatrics.

The current findings are based on 1,306 infant pertussis cases reported to health officials in seven U.S. states.

The source of an infant’s infection was identified only 44% of the time. When a source of the infection could be identified, it was usually an immediate family member: a sibling in 35.5% of cases, the mother in 20.6%, and the father in 10.0%.

That’s a change from years past, when mothers were most often the source. But the shift is not surprising, study author Tami Skoff, an investigator with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, told HealthDay

Skoff said the best way to protect infants is for mothers to have a tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) booster vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy. Right now, the CDC recommends that all Americans aged 11 and older have one Tdap booster shot. “Pregnant women are the only group who are advised to have more than one booster,” Skoff said.


1. Skoff T, et al. Pediatrics. 2015; doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1120.