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seeking opinions re: mostly unvaxed 6 yr old + pertussis at school + newborn baby

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,


I'm looking for opinions on our current situation.  We've just received a notice of a confirmed case of pertussis at DS's school (I have an email in to ask what grade it's in, but not sure if they're allowed to tell me that level of detail; it's a small school, less than 100 kids).  DS is newly-6 years old, and had the DTap at 4 months old and at 6 months old, and no further vaccines after those two.  My DH remembers him as being a "ghost" after those shots, and me being hysterical about it.  All I remember is feeling so regretful about having gone against my decision to not vaccinate at all (caved due to pressure from my family..never again.).  At any rate, relevant point is that he had 2 DTap shots as an infant (6 yrs ago).


Ordinarily, I would not worry at all about pertussis and feel capable of managing it fine within our family (me, DH, DS, and 2 year old DD), HOWEVER, we have a new baby coming in about 4 weeks or so.  So, if DS (or any of us) did contract pertussis, we would definitely be contagious at the time of our baby's birth.  So, I'm concerned.  Truthfully, I feel like I should have thought of this before given that I know pertussis is everywhere, but somehow it slipped my mind.


At any rate, the options as I see them are:  A) keep DS home from school until any chance of outbreak at school is over (how long would this be, a month? 6 weeks?).


B) get DS vaccinated and keep him home for 2 weeks in hopes that the vaccine would take effect in that time (and I know that even if it does, he could still be a carrier, so wash hands and change clothes immediately upon returning home from school).


C) get him vaccinated, send him to school right away, hope that if he gets it we realize it's pertussis before baby is born then administer antibiotics to everyone so that baby is somewhat protected


Am I missing something?  Does anyone have any advice they can give me in this situation?  I'm not panicking, just trying to make the best decision I can given the situation.




post #2 of 6

even if you get DS vaccinated, he can still carry the bacteria.(and not just on his clothes, but in his body)  Your best bet would be to watch for symptoms and get tested should any of you get a "cold" and then take antibiotics or possibly take preventive anti-biotics, not sure how you feel about that but if you are willing to vaccinate then I don't think that is out of the question.  Also, concider taking SA (sodium ascorbic, a more bio available form of vitamin C) there are many a thread on here about it. 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your reply.  Reading some more in the archives here, I see that I misunderstood about the "transmission" - I originally thought that meant physically carrying the bacteria on the body (like on the clothes and hands), but now I see that it's inside the body, as you say.  This definitely changes things.  I'm not opposed to doing the antibiotics if any of us has a swab that confirms pertussis, to prevent transmission to a newborn.  Probably I wouldn't do them without a positive culture, though (? need to think about this some more..typically we don't do antibiotics - DS has never had any ever and DD has had one course - but I really do feel at this point like we need to protect the new baby if it comes down to that.  I need to research what antibiotics it is, though, since I happen to be allergic to erythromycin and I think I've seen that as one of the treatments..

Thank you so much for your thoughts!


post #4 of 6

I would research the effectiveness of two DPT shots 6 years ago.  Is there any way to check your sons (and everyone else's) titres?


How long is pertussis contagious for?  Is it one of those that is contagious before you even know you have it?



I must say I would keep a child home in a pertussis outbreak over vaccination.  I would not want to make a permanent decision over a temporary situation ( a pertussis case co-inciding with the arrival of an infant).




post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately, pertussis is "cold-like" for one to two weeks before the distinctive cough shows up, so any of us would be contagious for a long time before we knew it was actually pertussis.  Reading more about transmission by even vaccinated individuals, it seems that vaccinated or not, pertussis is one that can be transmitted without the carrier having symptoms.  So, I'm now thinking that dosing with antibiotics if anything "cold-like" shows up around birthing time/newborn phase is an option.  Still considering keeping DS home from school (and it looks like this should be a consideration regardless of vaccine status, given that both vaxxed and unvaxxed can transmit the bacteria).  But wondering how long to keep him home - if everyone at school is vaccinated (and that isn't the case, but just for argument's sake), then pertussis could be being passed around the school and look just like a regular cold - so how long would it be going through before everyone who is going to get it has gotten it?  Tough one.  And still not sure about doing the antibiotics prophylactically - not sure our ped would even prescribe them as a simple prophylaxis??

post #6 of 6

Tough situation. Even without the confirmed case at school, the risk is always there. When my girls were babies, there was a school aged child in our home, and I didn't even think about it. If I was in your shoes, I'd go and talk to an ND regarding preventative measures. I would work on the family's immune systems and give the newborn infant probiotics to help with his/her immune system. No matter what it going around, a healthy immune system is your best defence. Also, back while I was pregnant, my ND assured me that IF my baby were to get Pertussis, she has effective ways to treat it. That gave me confidence as well. 


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