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Hi there,

I was tested a few days ago for pertussis and await the results of the blood test, but my GP (now) seems certain that it will be a positive result as my coughing follows the particular symptoms recognised in adults. Some GPs think it cant be such without the ' whoop' but this only happens apparently in toddlers. I have since come across many adults who have had whooping cough themselves which they all felt surprised about. I gather that there is a loss of immunity in adulthood and hence the herd immunity is reduced which puts vulnerable categories at risk ie very young babies.

I am not believed to be contagious at present but I may have been in November, and I have had a lot of contact with pregnant women and young children in childcare settings, both as part of my job and also with my own childrens nursery.  I therefore feel awful about potentially infecting someone.  One of the pregnant women in my office was the first to start coughing herself, which has lasted two months. She had an ENT investigation but I don't think pertussis ever came up as an option.

I have read that women in the third trimester are particularly vulnerable and that I may have been in contact with two such women.  I have also been in close contact with many children under 6 months but over 4 months. I did however go to a party a few weeks ago where there were younger babies present.

The Health Protection Agency were notified by my GP as is standard and I have spoken to them but they are advising against my telling people in case I panic them as there is no treatment for any such people who may have been infected by me.  I do however feel morally obliged to say something just in case they are suffering from a bad cough also and it might help to have the pertussis test to confirm the diagnosis, and at the very least, to be aware that pertussis is around in the general population. I for one had thought it was extinct.

In respect of the risk to pregnant women in the third trimester, is this that if they catch it they could infect their baby when it is born, or can it be infected in utero?  As a midwife, would you want to know if one of your clients had been in contact with someone infectious?

I realise that the results aren't back yet but I just wanted to formulate my game plan responsibly in case I needed to once the results were here and they were positive.


Many thanks for any advice you can give,


roze
 

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Hi,
Ive never come across this before! I'm not sure what effect it would have on pregnant women, I've tried finding out but can't seem to see much on it. I can see both points of view of not telling people if there's nothing can be done, and if they haven't got the symptoms bow, there doesn't seem to be any need, however I can also see your point, and if one of my patients had a cough, it would cut out a lot of hassle if we knew that they had been in contact with it and could test them immediately. I think (and this is only my personal opinion), that if someone I had been in contact with had started with the symptoms, then I would tell them,

Hope you are feeling better soon,(I'm off work with a bad cough at the moment and you've got me thinking!!)
Emilycaitlin xx
 
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