Researcher says whooping cough vaccines effective, despite outbreaks

by Karen N. Peart
Researcher says whooping cough vaccines effective, despite outbreaks
Credit: Shutterstock

(Medical Xpress)—Despite recent outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough)—a highly contagious bacterial disease that is preventable by the current pertussis vaccines—Yale researcher Dr. Eugene Shapiro maintains in an editorial that the vaccines are effective and should still be administered.

Shapiro said that although acellular vaccines may be suboptimal, they are still quite effective and should be focused on pregnant women, infants, and caregivers. "It is most important to try to protect infants, who have the most severe illnesses and highest mortality from pertussis," said Shapiro, professor of pediatrics. "The highest rates of both hospitalizations and deaths from pertussis occurred in children younger than two months."

The resurgence of pertussis in the United States, even among those who have been vaccinated in the past, has led many experts to question the long-term duration of immunity. Published in the Nov. 28 issue of (), Shapiro's editorial stresses that while there is speculation that the outbreak is linked to the vaccine's waning immunity over time, there is no definitive evidence that this is the primary or sole reason for increases in reported cases of pertussis.

The original whole-cell pertussis vaccine DTwP, which also included vaccines against and tetanus, was introduced for in the 1940s. But acellular combination pertussis vaccines (DTaP) replaced DTwP in the early 1990s because the whole-cell vaccine had high rates of side-effects such as fever and inflammation at the injection site. DTaP uses purified components to reduce side-effects, but Shapiro said there is not enough data on the duration of the DTaP vaccine's immunity.

"There have been periodic outbreaks in the past even with the whole cell vaccine, so there is no way to know for sure that the outbreaks are linked to the accelular vaccine," he said. "There is no definitive evidence as to why there are increased outbreaks, and there may be multiple reasons for it."

More information: JAMA, Vol. 308, No. 20  (November 28, 2012).

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

10 hours ago

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

10 hours ago

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

Discovery of genes that predispose a severe form of COPD

12 hours ago

A study by Ramcés Falfán-Valencia, researcher at the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases (INER), found that the mestizo Mexican population has a number of variations in certain genes that predispose ...

On the environmental trail of food pathogens

13 hours ago

Tracking one of the deadliest food contamination organisms through produce farms and natural environments alike, Cornell microbiologists are showing how to use big datasets to predict where the next outbreak could start.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

drdale
not rated yet Nov 29, 2012
ARE YOU SURE? YOU GUYS CAN'T GET ANY SIGNIFICANT AND VALID STUDIES DONE ON VACCINES AND THOSE DONE ON PERTUSSIS ARE DEFINITELY LACKING. LET ME SEE ACTUAL DOUBLE BLIND STUDIES AND I WILL RECONSIDER.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.