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Parents Health is Key to Protecting Newborns From Whooping Cough

By: CBS News Email
By: CBS News Email

Ask any new mom.. keeping their baby safe and healthy is the top priority.
But most don't realize.. they need to be protecting their child from themselves.
Niwa Kapumbu never dreamed that she could be a danger to her own newborn.
"Its scary, of course. You know, you don't want to give nothing to your baby. You want him to be safe," Kapumbu said.
Like most moms with new babies, she had no idea she should be vaccinated for Whooping Cough.
But according to a new Northwestern University study, all moms should receive the DTAP vaccine before their babies come home from the hospital.
The illness, characterized by severe coughing, can be deadly for babies, who are not able to be vaccinated until at least two months.
"It is a very serious infection, especially the younger an infant is. They have prolonged coughing. They have gasping, sianotic, turning blue episodes," said Dr. Kenneth Gottisman, a pediatrician at St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital.
Whooping Cough, or Pertussis, is once again on the rise in the U.S., up ten fold since 1980. And about half of the babies who get it, get it from a parent.
According to the State University of New York, only about 2% of parents with babies in intensive care get the shot. Many, have been vaccinated as children, and don't know it wears off after 6 to 8 years.
"We would urge the father go to receive this immunization," Dr. Gottisman said.
The Center for Disease Control now recommends boosters shots for all adults and teens. Before there was a vaccine, Whooping Cough killed up to 10,000 Americans a year.
Doctors believe it's making a come back as more parents choose not to vaccinate their kids.
Kapumbu says she'll do whatever it takes.
"I'll ask the doctor about the vaccine," she said.
Protecting her son is her top priority.


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