Female Age: 20

Background:

Karina, a full-time college student, is 20 and pregnant for the first time. She recently left her job at a child-care center and plans to take off a semester when her baby is born.

During the 24-week prenatal medical checkup, you ask whether Karina is aware that cases of pertussis—which the public knows as whooping cough—are on the rise around the country and that Texas is on pace to reach the highest level of cases in more than 50 years. She’s surprised by that news because she never saw a pertussis case at the child-care center. She remembers getting a pertussis vaccination when she was hired two years ago, but never thought about it again.

You remind Karina that pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory disease that commonly affects infants and children and can be fatal, with newborns at highest risk. Karina’s newborn daughter will be at risk for pertussis because infants must be at least two months old before receiving the first of five pertussis vaccinations. Everyone in close contact with a baby—especially the mother—should be vaccinated.