Med advice needed urgently. (Not diagnostic)

I’ve just had a phone call from my daughter who has a little boy now five weeks old. One of her friends yesterday got a diagnosis of whooping cough and this person has been in contact with the baby.

At five weeks, he’s yet too young to have begun his immunisation regimen, and she is most concerned that he may develop pertussis.

Is there any sort of prophylactic treatment that can be given to such a young baby to prevent infection?

Is she breastfeeding?


I don’t know if that will confer much in the way of immunity though against a nasty like whooping cough, will it??

I’m not aware of any such treatment, but certainly is the child shows signs of illness then the child should be taken to a doctor and the doctor informed of the possible exposure.

I am not an M.D.; this is not medical advice.

I am passing along a 2005 CDC publication that states that postexposure prophylactic treatment with antibiotics may be appropriate for infants as young as <1 month old in certain circumstance following exposure to whooping cough (whooping cough is also called pertussis - see WebMD here).

The immunity passed through breastfeeding is far from foolproof. It’s better than nothing, but it’s no guarantee.

Among other things, the mother has to have sufficient immunity herself to a particular illness in order to pass it on to her child. Not all adults have immunity to pertussis, even though vaccinated earlier in life, because immunity given by vaccine does not always last a lifetime.

Thanks for the info folks. My daughter and grandson popped along to the local Dr who promptly prescribed the antibiotics that Sidney Evgeni Jordan had noted in his/her cite (thanks for that Sid!)

So, all is well for now. Incubation for pertussis is anything from 6->10 days: hopefully the meds will do their intended job and the wee fellow won’t be burdened with anything greater than having to swallow yucky medicine. :stuck_out_tongue:

Fingers crossed etc.


I’m interested in how the friend was diagnosed with pertussis.

Pertussis immunizations and immunity from haviing the disease are only good for about five years, give or take.
So, unless mom has had the disease or the immunization within the last 5 years, breastmilk would give little immunity specificly to whooping cough.

USCDiver, since pertussis is becoming more of a problem in many areas, testing for it, in both adults and children is becoming more common.