According to recent news reports, officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health have confirmed 70 cases of pertussis, also knows as “whooping cough”, so far in 2016 – nearly double the confirmed cases at this time last year.
Infants less than three months of age are the most vulnerable to morbidity and mortality associated with pertussis infection. One strategy to provide protection to newborn infants too young to receive pertussis vaccination is maternal vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy.
A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (AJOG) sought to determine the optimal gestational window for vaccination in the third trimester. The conclusion: Maternal vaccination during the third trimester is effective in affording higher levels of pertussis antibody protection to the newborn infant. Vaccination early in the third trimester appears more effective than later in pregnancy. (source: Naidu MA, Muljadi R, Davies-Tuck ML, et al. The optimal gestation for pertussis vaccination during pregnancy: a prospective cohort study. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2016;215:237.e1-6.)
Other strategies to protect newborns include vaccination of other family members and friends who will come into contact with the newborn. Find out more about pertussis www.cdc.gov/pertussis/