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New Study Confirms Role for Pertussis Immunization of Entire Family,in Reducing Infant Pertussis

ossibility of serious complications and even death. In fact, more than 90 percent of pertussis deaths have occurred in infants.(4)

"While pertussis cases in all age groups have been rising, it is important to know how the disease is spread, particularly to infants who are too young to be vaccinated themselves, so that steps can be taken to prevent infections in these vulnerable infants and potentially save lives," said Annelies Van Rie, M.D., assistant professor of epidemiology in the UNC School of Public Health. "It is troubling to learn that infants are often infected with pertussis by their own family members, who are often unaware of having pertussis themselves."

The number of reported cases of pertussis has been rising across the United States, heightening concern in the public health and medical communities. This is partly because pertussis immunity from early childhood vaccinations eventually wears off, leaving adults and adolescents susceptible to the disease. The most current data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the number of pertussis cases increased between the 1980s and 2005.(4) While the number of cases increased in all age groups, reports of pertussis have increased most dramatically among adolescents and adults. Most adolescents and adults are not diagnosed with pertussis because they frequently have milder disease.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the CDC now recommends that adults and adolescents be given a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster (Tdap) in place of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster to reduce the burden of pertussis in this country.(5) Since 2005, Adacel vaccine has offered pertussis protection for individuals 11 through 64 years of age, and is currently the only pertussis booster vaccine for both adolescents and adults in the United States.

"Ongoing research, such as this study, demonstrates that adolescents and adults can tran
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