Preventing pertussis

Source: British Medical Journal

Follow this link for abstract

Date of publication: July 2014

Publication Type: Editorial

In a nutshell: Pertussis (whooping cough) continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world and is one of the leading causes of deaths from vaccine preventable diseases. In recent years, large outbreaks of pertussis have been reported in many developed countries, despite widespread use of vaccines.1 2 The United Kingdom is no exception.3 Two linked papers examine issues surrounding pertussis vaccination in the UK.4 5 Wang and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.g3668) looked at children aged 5-15 with persistent cough identified in 22 general practices in the Thames Valley from November 2010 to December 2012. At least 20% had evidence of recent infection with Bordetella pertussis, based on raised concentrations of specific IgG antibodies in saliva.4Moreover, among these children with persistent cough (which in many cases was severe), the risk of pertussis was more than four times higher in children who had received the preschool pertussis vaccine booster dose seven years or more earlier compared with those who had received the booster more recently. Donegan and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.g4219) report results from 20 074 pregnant women who had received the combined low dose diphtheria, acellular pertussis, and inactivated poliovirus vaccine during the first six months after the campaign to immunize pregnant women against pertussis was introduced in October 2012.5 They found no discernible increase in the risk of serious adverse events such as stillbirth, eclampsia, low birth weight, or death of the mother or the baby.

Length of publication: 2-page article

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