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Contact with whooping cough before vaccine?

(11 Posts)
Kittenrush Thu 27-Oct-16 23:15:33

I'm 39+3. Found out recently that my MIL has had whooping cough. She's all better now but I realised today that her symptoms started before I had, had my vaccine at about 28 weeks or so. Is this a problem? I haven't had any symptoms so all is well right?

CatchingBabies Thu 27-Oct-16 23:30:08

The whooping cough vaccine isn't for you, you were vaccinated against that as a child. It's to pass through the placenta and vaccinate the baby until he or she is old enough to have their own vaccination. It was introduced as some babies died from whooping cough when they were too young to be vaccinated. You'll be fine, try not to worry.

sycamore54321 Thu 27-Oct-16 23:53:07

Exactly as above. You catching whooping cough while pregnant certainly isn't to be encouraged but the mother having the illness isn't directly harmful to the baby, unlike say listeria or rubella or chicken pox. The vaccine is almost unique in that its primary purpose is not to protect you, but to encourage your immune system to create an antibody response, so that these antibodies pass through the placenta. This gives your newborn baby a certain level of passive immunity before she is old enough to get her own vaccine (giving the vaccine to babies earlier than scheduled won't work, as their own immune system needs to be a little more mature to respond effectively to the vaccine).

If I were you however, I would mention to your doctors and seek specific advice on MIL's likelihood of still being infectious by the time your baby arrives. Others who live in close quarters with her should probably get their own whooping cough vaccine before close contact with your baby, and be very aware of the early signs of infection, to keep away if in any doubt. WC is one of the childhood vaccines that have a higher rate of wearing off, so in some countries they advise a booster for all family members of a newborn. You could ask your doctor if this is advisable for your other family members, given the recent infection.

But don't worry unduly, best of luck

Nikki2ol6 Fri 28-Oct-16 08:04:54

Hello my 20 month old had it 2 months ago (I'm 30wks now) and the first time i took him to the gp they said ohhh it's a chest infection here are some anti biotics so after 5 days of antibiotics he was no better at all!! So I went back and explained his cough to her for the second time and it wasn't until she heard him cough 5 minuets later she said oh no that's whooping cough!!! She rang maternity assessment and they said give me my jab now so I had it at 22wks. I haven't caught whooping cough thankfully

Kittenrush Fri 28-Oct-16 08:20:03

Thank you for your responses. I was aware about the vaccine being for the baby, i just wondered about any harm that may come if I had been exposed as with chicken pox or meningitis or something. I think I'll mention it to the midwife and see if my partner and MIL would be up for getting a vaccine. Thanks again lovelies

MrsChrisPratt Fri 28-Oct-16 08:57:43

I checked this when I had my flu jab and was booking my whooping cough vaccine (I've not been exposed, just a worrier) and was told exactly the same thing as above by the nurse- I don't think you need to worry but of you are check with midwife for reassurance.

Kittenrush Fri 28-Oct-16 12:34:10

Awesome thank you, I'm not much of a worrier and being a nurse I know what to look out for when she gets here. Just wanted to be safe really. Before I went on maternity we were probably exposed to loads worse anyway lol xx

sycamore54321 Fri 28-Oct-16 15:26:58

Probably MIL is the one person who does not need a vaccine as she has now overcome the most recent strain of WC and so should be immune. But if she has eg a husband living with her who will be in close contact with your baby, then that person might ha been exposed to MIL or to wherever MIL first caught it.

Kittenrush Fri 28-Oct-16 22:42:58

Yes of course, that makes sense. Maybe I'll get her to lick the baby. That's how it works, right? She works in a preschool so probably where she picked it up. I'll speak to my midwife, she'll know what to do smile thanks again

parentsvsPIL Fri 28-Oct-16 23:55:21

Please note that acellular pertussis vaccines used nowadays are not the same as the cellular ones used 30-40 years ago, modern ones last much less time. Also that the vaccines used 30+ years ago don't guarantee current immunity anyway partly because immunity wanes and partly because different strains are circulating now..

So while you don't seem to have caught pertussis from your MIL, so you really shouldn't worry here, it's really not true to say you are necessarily immune based on having been vaccinated as a child, or that the vaccine is just for your baby.

Everyone coming into contact with babies or the elderly (for whom pertussis is most dangerous) should be being vaccinated roughly every 5 or so years, which is how long the modern acellular vaccines last. To make sure noone gets it at all you'd want to vaccinate everyone every 5 years, but that's too expensive for most health sytems, which is why you still get epidemics of pertussis in 8 year olds whose immunity has waned but they aren't up to their 11 year old vaccine (at least in the country I'm in - i don't know the specific immunization schedule for pertussis in the UK).

There is good evidence that those epidemics are actually being driven by the 8 year olds' parents and grandparents who are no longer immune and don't know about it. This is partly because people (GPs, patients) don't recognize pertussis easily - many adults just have paroxysmal coughing fits with long breks in between coughing, and no whooping at all; and by the time they've had a cough for three months (it gets called the "hundred day cough" in China), the bacteria have long since disappeared (the cough stays on for other reasons than just infection), so if the doctor tests for the bacteria they're not there to find. Most GPs don't know that this doesn't rule out an initial infection with the pertussis bacterium!

BUT - don't worry - if you don't have a "hundred day cough" it's highly unlikely you've actually caught it from MIL!

parentsvsPIL Sat 29-Oct-16 00:00:14

BTW just on acellular vs cellular vaccines: they use the acellular one now (despite it not lasting very long) because pain and fever was a really big issue with the old cellular one - which led to people avoiding vaccination altogether. Also because they've worked out how to synthesize the relevant proteins easily and cheaply to make the vaccine artificially - whereas 30 years ago the only way to get those proteins for the vaccine was to inject dead bacteria into your arm...

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