Intended for healthcare professionals


Acellular vaccines provided less protection during California pertussis outbreak

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 21 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3325
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Teenagers who received four doses of the newer acellular pertussis vaccines were nearly six times as likely to receive a diagnosis of pertussis during a recent outbreak in California than were those who received doses of the older, whole cell preparation, a new study has found.1

After pertussis vaccines were introduced in the 1940s the annual number of cases of the disease in the United States fell from more than 100 000 to fewer than 10 000 by 1965. These vaccines were derived from whole Bordetella pertussis organisms and were combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoid (in the DTwP vaccine). But because of concerns that the whole …

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