Papers And Originals

Efficacy of Whooping-cough Vaccines used in the United Kingdom before 1968: Final Report to the Director of the Public Health Laboratory Service by the Public Health Laboratory Service Whooping-Cough Committee and Working Party

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 03 February 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:259


The efficacy of pertussis vaccines was investigated in 33 areas in the United Kingdom from November 1966 until April 1968 inclusive. Bordetella pertussis was isolated from 1,293 persons, but there were only six isolations of B. papapertussis. Among vaccinated contacts under 5 years in homes in which B. pertussis was isolated 52% developed paroxysmal cough. The corresponding attack rate among unvaccinated contacts was 69%. These findings suggest that much of the pertussis vaccine in use for five or six years before 1968 was not very effective. However, vaccine from one producer was more effective than vaccine from another. Of the cultures of B. pertussis identified 89% were serotype 1, 3 and only about 9% were serotype 1, 2, 3. Serotype 1, 2, 3 was isolated much more frequently from unvaccinated than from vaccinated children, but some cultures identified as type 1, 2, 3 were found on re-examination to contain colonies of type 1, 3. Virological investigations were made in some areas during the first year of the study. Of the wide variety of viruses identified adenovirus and parainfluenza virus were the most common groups. Virus isolation rates were similar in patients and symptomless contacts, but B. pertussis was isolated far more often from patients than from symptomless contacts. The evidence suggests that B. pertussis remained the major cause of whooping cough in the U.K.