Whooping cough is the dread contagious disease of infancy. During the first two years of life it is the cause of more deaths than measles, diphtheria, poliomyelitis and scarlet fever combined.1 Against the latter diseases the baby usually is born with a passive immunity transmitted by the mother through the placenta.2 Since this is a passive immunity it endures for only approximately six months. Such does not seem to be the case with whooping cough.
Pediatrists not infrequently encounter cases of whooping cough in early infancy. The figures on the incidence of whooping cough in the infant vary from 8 to 18 per cent of the total incidence of whooping cough at all ages.3 This is clinical evidence of the frequent lack of immunity in the newborn.4 At present there are few data on the humoral immunity of the average adult against whooping cough. This is
COHEN P, SCADRON SJ. THE PLACENTAL TRANSMISSION OF PROTECTIVE ANTIBODIES AGAINST WHOOPING COUGH: BY INOCULATION OF THE PREGNANT MOTHER. JAMA. 1943;121(9):656–662. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.02840090026008
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