Mohamed and Sharlene Mansaray are proud parents of their new baby girl, Jamila. The couple has done everything they can to ensure their daughter has a healthy start in life, including getting themselves vaccinated for pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough.
"One of the reasons that they told me was because of the dangers that it could lead to my child if I go unprotected," says Sharlene.
Incidents of whooping cough are on the upswing in the U.S. As of July, 37 states have reported increases in the number of pertussis cases, compared to those in 2011.
"We have to keep in mind, that whooping cough occurs in cycles. And it generally peaks every three to five years. And you have to take into consideration that the vaccine can wane over time," says Dr. Toni L. Thompson-Chittams.
Although whooping cough may not have severe complications in adults, it can cause serious problems in infants, such as pneumonia, decreased blood supply to the brain, even death.
So doctors say vaccinate. Babies start a series of five shots, beginning at age two months, plus a booster between ages 11 and 12 . And anyone who takes care of a little ones should get an adult pertussis vaccine.
"Most studies have shown that when babies get pertussis, it's generally tracked back to a caregiver."
That's why pediatricians say, vaccines are the best protection.
"I think if there is a preventative measure you can take, then absolutely."