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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Feb 1;51(4):73-6.

Pertussis--United States, 1997-2000.


Pertussis was a major cause of morbidity and mortality among infants and children in the United States during the prevaccine era (i.e., before the mid-1940s). Following the introduction and widespread use of whole-cell pertussis vaccine combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DTP) among infants and children in the late 1940s, the incidence of reported pertussis declined to a historic low of 1,010 cases in 1976 (Figure 1). However, since the early 1980s, reported pertussis incidence has increased cyclically with peaks occurring every 3-4 years. In 1996, less reactogenic acellular pertussis vaccines (DTaP) were licensed and recommended for routine use among infants. This report summarizes national surveillance data for pertussis during 1997-2000 and assesses the effectiveness of pertussis vaccination in the United States during this period. The findings indicate that pertussis incidence continues to increase in infants too young to receive 3 doses of pertussis-containing vaccine and in adolescents and adults. Prevention efforts should be directed at maintaining high vaccination rates and managing pertussis cases and outbreaks.

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