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The Lifelong Health Impact Of Whooping Cough

People born during outbreaks are more likely to die prematurely even if they survive into adulthood, research at in Sweden has found. Women had a 20% higher risk of an early death, and men a staggering 40%. Women also suffered more complications during and after pregnancy, with an increased risk of miscarriage as well as infant death within the first month of life.

“The results show the importance of following up patients with exposure to whooping cough in childhood, particularly pregnant women”, says , the PhD candidate at Lund University behind the findings.

The landmark study used a globally unique database, the , based on data from Sweden’s extensive population registers. Quaranta mapped five communities between 1813 and 1968, in an effort to understand how conditions at birth, such as socioeconomic status and exposure to infectious diseases, affect us later in life.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, was widely considered to have been all but eradicated in many developed countries until recently. The UK, the US and Australia have all seen outbreaks of the disease in the past two years.


About the study:

Scarred for life. How conditions in early life affect socioeconomic status, reproduction and mortality in Southern Sweden, 1813-1968 http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=24732&postid=3737363

The Scanian Economic Demographic Database: http://www.ed.lu.se/EN/databases/sdd.asp

Q &A with Luciana Quaranta: http://review.ehl.lu.se/qna-8-how-does-early-life-conditions-affect-us-later-in-life/

Lund University