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Texas Hospital nation's first to use large-scale 'cocoon strategy' against whooping cough
Date:1/25/2008

Houston, TX (Jan. 24, 2008) The new Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research at Texas Childrens Hospital announced that it will implement the nations first major cocoon strategy vaccination program to protect newborn infants from the life-threatening infection pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough.

Whooping cough is a highly-contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system. While the disease can occur at any age, whooping cough can be particularly serious and even life-threatening to very young infants. Recent statistics show that whooping cough is on the rise again. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the United States in 2004 and 2005, the largest number since the 1950s. This increase is due to an epidemic of pertussis in adolescents and adults who have lost their immunity from their childhood vaccines and need a booster vaccine. While this population has less severe consequences from the infection, they are the source of its spread to infants who are too young to be protected by their own vaccinations.

The cocoon strategy is the process of vaccinating the babys mother and other adolescent and adult family members who will be in close contact with the infant, so that the baby is surrounded by family members who can not spread pertussis. Babies under six months old are too young to have received all three doses of the whooping cough vaccine, and studies show that more than 75 percent of infected babies get pertussis from family members.

The idea behind the cocoon strategy is that the vaccinated family members can block transmission of the infection to the unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated infant, said C. Mary Healy, M.D., program leader and director of Vaccinology and Maternal Immunization at the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research.

Through this program, Texas Childrens Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research wi
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Contact: Carol Wittman
cmwittma@texaschildrenshospital.org
832-824-2040
Texas Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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