61 percent don't know if they are a danger to their babies

Jun 17, 2013

It might be embarrassing, but expecting mothers: it is ok to tell friends and family to be vaccinated before they see your baby.

Pertussis, or Whooping Cough as it is more commonly known, is at the highest level of outbreak in the past 50 years. Ann Arbor specifically, reports a high level of the disease in their schools.

Credit wikimedia.org

So, why does this put your newborn in danger?

As a child, we are all vaccinated for Whooping Cough. However, according to Sarah Clark, an associate research scientist at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, this vaccination wears off by the time of adulthood. Newborn babies are not able to receive the vaccination until they are two months old. This means, babies can be fatally infected unknowingly by their family members.

"You know, sometimes people think, oh you know, it's just a bad cough I've had for some time," Clark said,"They don't know they are putting a vulnerable baby in harms way."

Credit http://www.cdc.gov/

In a recent poll conducted by the Children's Hospital, 61 percent of adults cannot remember the last time they were vaccinated. Only 20 percent of adults reported to being vaccinated in the last 10 years.

"They think this is a childhood disease," said Clark, "But it doesn't last."

While it may be uncomfortable to ask, the study found that most people would rather know their child is safe than face a little social tuft.  Most people showed that they agreed that parents should make sure that all visitors are vaccinated against Pertussis before seeing their new baby.

"It's a conversation that needs to be had," said Clark, "And it can be just one more thing on the list for expecting parents. To talk about with family and close friends before the baby is born. So that when that baby comes home from the hospital, he or she is going to be surrounded by people who will not be infecting them."

-Alana Holland, Michigan Radio Newsroom