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How is whooping cough transmitted to infants?

Whooping cough is caused by bacteria. When someone infected with whooping cough sneezes or coughs, tiny germ-laden droplets are sprayed into the air. These droplets can enter the lungs of anyone who happens to be nearby. This is how the disease spreads. 
Whooping cough in infants is usually transmitted from contact in the household with a family member -- most often the mother -- who has a cough illness that has not been recognized as pertussis, the bacteria that causes the illness. As UCLA pediatric infectious-disease specialist James Cherry, MD, explains, "This is why it’s so important that doctors do a better job of recognizing and treating pertussis, and that all appropriate people are vaccinated -- particularly those who have contact with young babies."

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.