A striking number of children are currently suffering from whooping cough

A striking number of children are currently suffering from whooping cough
A striking number of children are currently suffering from whooping cough

Whooping cough can be particularly dangerous for children

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is transmitted by droplet infection and is highly contagious. In unvaccinated infants and young children, pertussis leads to severe respiratory infections with typical violent coughing attacks. The eponymous wheezing sound is caused by the swollen airways when breathing in. For healthy adults, an infection is less dangerous.

Life-threatening for infants

For newborns, however, it is: “Whooping cough is very dangerous for infants. They don’t necessarily notice coughing, but rather stop drinking and become weak. Breathing pauses caused by the infection are dangerous, especially during sleep. Newborns and small infants should be examined for whooping cough whenever they have a seemingly harmless cold,” says Ariane Biebl from the University Clinic for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine at Kepler University Hospital.

  • also read: Doctors strongly recommend whooping cough vaccination

The disease is often only recognized late, if at all, and is therefore transmitted primarily by adults or older siblings. In order to protect newborns as best as possible from infection, all family members and close contacts should check and update their vaccination status before the birth of a child. Women are currently recommended to be vaccinated during pregnancy in order to give the baby the best possible protection. In unvaccinated people, almost every contact leads to infection. Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of infection. If the disease does occur, the symptoms are milder. The problem is that the vaccination is no longer as effective after a few years. This is why booster vaccinations are important. Around half of all sick infants become infected in private environments.

When and how often is the whooping cough vaccination given?

The early vaccination is given as part of the 6-in-1 vaccination in the 3rd, 5th and 11/12th month of life and is part of the free vaccination program. At school age, a combination vaccination with diphtheria, tetanus and polio is repeated in the 7th to 9th year of life. After the basic immunization in infancy and a booster vaccination at school age, a booster vaccination with whooping cough as a combination vaccine with diphtheria, tetanus and polio should be given every ten years up to the age of 60 and every five years from the age of 60.

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Source: Nachrichten

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