Baby in hospital
Baby in hospitaliStock

A 2.5-month-old baby was hospitalized at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center with a severe respiratory disease identified as pertussis, Kikar Hashabbat reported.

According to the hospital, the infant has been transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit and is currently under constant monitoring. He is stable and in good condition.

Hospital tests confirmed that neither the mother nor the baby was vaccinated against pertussis, despite the fact that the Ministry of Health recommends that pregnant mothers receive a DTaP booster in order to provide antibodies for the neonate after birth, and that babies typically receive their first pertussis vaccination at two months of age.

Babies less than one year old are among the most vulnerable to infection and among the most likely to experience life-threatening complications.

Kikar Hashabbat quoted Dr. Yair Mordish, an infectious diseases expert in the hospital's pediatric ward, who said: "Pertussis is a severe disease which is easily prevented, via vaccinations given during pregnancy and early childhood. We therefore call on all parents to be punctilious about the recommended vaccination schedule, for the sake of their health and their children's health."

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After cough fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a 'whooping' sound. Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old."

Young babies may cease breathing with or without coughing.

"About half of babies younger than 1 year old who get pertussis need care in the hospital. The younger the baby, the more likely they will need treatment in the hospital. Of those babies who are treated in the hospital with pertussis about: 1 out of 4 (23%) will contract pneumonia (lung infection), 1 out of 100 (1.1%) will have convulsions, 3 out of 5 (61%) will have apnea, 1 out of 300 (0.3%) will have encephalopathy, and 1 out of 100 (1%) will die," CDC emphasizes.

The deaths occur despite hospital care, and some of those who survive will be permanently disabled.