Intended for healthcare professionals


Preventing pertussis

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 17 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4518
  1. Eugene D Shapiro, professor1
  1. 1Departments of Pediatrics, Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, and Investigative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New Haven, CT 06520-8064, US
  1. Eugene.Shapiro{at}

We need to act now, not wait for longer lasting new vaccines

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.4 Moreover, 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 …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription