Child care workers should be vaccinated, report says

In a study of Seattle babies infected with whooping cough, researchers found that nearly half the people who lived and worked with the babies were eligible to receive a vaccine.

The study found that between 2002 and 2007, 136 out of every 100,000 infants in Seattle developed whooping cough each year on average. Also known as pertussis, the disease causes uncomfortable, violent coughing, and infects 30 to 50 million people a year worldwide, killing around 300,000, Reuters Health reports.

"There needs to be more educational efforts targeted at adult physicians and health care consumers on the major public health burden that pertussis continues to be and the importance of vaccination as a means of prevention," Dr. Tina Q. Tan said, according to Reuters Health.

Close to 50 percent of household members and people in regular contact with the infants who developed whooping cough would have been eligible for the Tdap vaccine. The authors of the study argue that if they had received it, it may have prevented the infants from developing the infection in the first place.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommended last month that new mothers should receive the Tdap vaccination during pregnancy. Seventy-seven percent of infected infants in Seattle had been partly vaccinated, however, children must receive a series of shots to be completely vaccinated. Most babies who get sick with whooping cough aren’t old enough to have completed the whole series of injections.