Pertussis Cases Up; Vaccine Losing Steam?

Jul 20, 2012

We’re seeing a few more cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in Rhode Island than usual right now (the total is eight as of Friday, July 20). But in the state of Washington, it’s reached official epidemic status. The Centers for Disease Control reports today in its weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report that, although the pertussis incidence rate is higher in Washington, there’s a national trend emerging in terms of what age groups are getting sick:

“Consistent with national trends, high rates of pertussis were observed among infants aged <1 year and children aged 10 years. However, the incidence in adolescents aged 13–14 years also was increased, despite high rates of vaccination with tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, suggesting early waning of immunity.” (emphasis mine)

So they think the vaccine may be wearing off earlier than we thought. That’s why the CDC recommends that kids keep current with booster shots and that adults and adolescents get the vaccine, too.

Not sure what the cough sounds like? Here‘s a recording.