Siblings are now more likely to infect newborns with pertussis than mothers or fathers, a new study has found.
"Researchers determined the source of pertussis infection in 569 infants between 2006 and 2013," The New York Times reported
. "Fathers were the source of 10 percent of the infections, mothers of 20.6 percent, and siblings of 35.5 percent."
The study, "Sources of Infant Pertussis Infection in the United States," was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. It sought to explore the cause behind rising rates of pertussis among newborns over roughly the past decade.
Mothers were found to be the primary source of newborn infection up until 2008, the study said.
Researchers blamed the rise in sibling transmission on waning immunity, and, to a lesser extent, to a clustering of families who intentionally refuse the vaccine.
Infants can receive the DTaP vaccine, which also protects against tetanus and diphtheria, starting at 2 months old, however booster shots are recommended between ages 4 and 6.
"Pregnant women should receive a dose of Tdap in every pregnancy to provide protection to their infants," said the lead author of the study, Tami H. Skoff, an epidemiologist with the CDC. "And they should also assure that everyone in contact with the infant is up-to-date with their pertussis vaccines, including booster doses."
As Forbes reported
, the medical researchers could only identify the most likely source of a baby's infection 44 percent of the time. Among immediate and extended family members, newborns caught their infection from a family member 85 percent of the time.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.