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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2004 Apr;5(4):807-17.

Acellular pertussis vaccines for use among infants and young children.

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  • 1Departments of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Pertussis is still one of the most common vaccine-preventable childhood diseases in developed countries. Infants, particularly those < 6 months, are the most susceptible and those who suffer the greatest disease burden and mortality. In the 1970s, concerns about the reactogenicity of whole-cell vaccines led to a decrease in vaccine coverage and later the re-emergence of the disease in many countries. The advent of acellular vaccines in recent years has constituted an important advance in the acceptance of this immunisation and consequently the control of the disease. The efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccines is approximately 59 - 93%, similar to whole-cell vaccines, but all available data confirm the substantial improvement in safety of the new vaccines. With the licensure of acellular pertussis vaccines and combined vaccines containing them, pertussis immunisation has become significantly developed. Furthermore, the possibility of continuing to vaccinate adolescents and adults with new diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (dTap) vaccines is an important step in achieving control and elimination of the disease.

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