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Expert Opin Biol Ther. 2006 Jul;6(7):685-97.

Pertussis immunisation in adolescents and adults--Bordetella pertussis epidemiology should guide vaccination recommendations.

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University Children's Hospital (UKBB), PO Box, CH-4005 Basel, Switzerland.


Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an infectious disease that is caused by Bordetella pertussis, affects all age groups and is vaccine preventable. Recently, an increase in reported cases of pertussis in adolescents and adults has been noted in many countries despite high immunisation rates in children. Today pertussis outnumbers all other paediatric vaccine-preventable diseases in some countries. This observation can best be explained by an increased awareness of the disease, the availability of new diagnostic tests and, perhaps, suboptimal efficacy of some pertussis vaccines. In general, B. pertussis infections in adolescents and adults are of concern as they are the most important source of transmission of B. pertussis infections to young, unprotected infants. Many studies with diphtheria and tetanus toxoid, acellular pertussis component combination vaccines, specifically designed for use in adolescents and adults, have been performed and excellent tolerability and immunogenicity have been demonstrated. With the availability of two such products, booster doses in adolescents have been introduced in Canada, Austria, Australia, France, Germany and the US, and many other countries are considering similar expansion of their immunisation programmes at present. In addition, universal immunisation of adults (Austria, every 10 years) or targeting high risk groups (e.g., parents of newborns and other care-givers to children; Germany) have been recommended. If lifelong regular booster doses against pertussis were to be recommended and universal implementation was obtained, the authors believe that the morbidity of pertussis and its spread to infants can be dramatically reduced, and it is possible that the circulation of B. pertussis could be eliminated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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