Neonatal pertussis, cocooning and maternal immunization.
The rising incidence of whooping cough, a highly contagious infection caused by Bordetella pertussis, is particularly significant for young infants who have the highest risk for morbidity and mortality. The pertussis resurgence has led to a shift in primary prevention relying on childhood vaccination to a cocooning strategy, that is, vaccination of close contacts of newborn infants (new mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings, caretakers, etc.), thereby reducing pertussis exposure. Immunization of women during pregnancy rather than during the immediate postpartum period (the initial cocooning recommendation) appears to be a better approach by directly providing protection through transplacental transfer of maternal vaccine-induced antibodies. This article describes neonatal pertussis, cocooning as a means of reducing neonatal exposure to pertussis and maternal immunization as a means of protecting young infants against pertussis infection.
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