Rates of whooping cough in the United States are at their highest level in decades, yet most adults don't know whether they are adequately protected against the disease, results from a new poll suggest.
In the poll, 61 percent of adults said they didn't know when they were last vaccinated against whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Just 20 percent said they were vaccinated within the last 10 years, which is the recommended timeframe for vaccination.
Vaccination against pertussis as an adult — with the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine — is important because it protects against pertussis and also helps prevent the spread of the disease to newborns.
Children under 6 months are most at risk of dying from pertussis, and children under 2 months cannot be vaccinated against the disease. Most infants who develop pertussis caught the disease from an older child or adult, according to the researchers, of the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.
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