For All Pregnant Women
The Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices from the Centers for Disease Control recommend that health care providers immunize all pregnant women against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough.) The recommendation is to administer the Tdap vaccine between 27-36 weeks of gestation or, if that’s not possible, immediately after childbirth, regardless of whether or not the mother has had the vaccine in the past. The committee says the vaccine is safe and can be administered at any time during pregnancy. Experts say getting the vaccine during pregnancy enables pertussis antibodies to be transferred from the mother to the newborn. The CDC reports a jump in the number of pertussis cases with more than 32,000 cases and 16 deaths reported this year, the largest number since 1959.
New Is Not Always Better
Recent whooping cough (also known as pertussis) outbreaks in the United States and Australia may be linked to one of the most unlikely culprits - the vaccine. With the goal of reducing the common side effect of pain and swelling at the injection site and a rare one that affected the brain, the way vaccines were designed was changed from a diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis vaccine to a diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis vaccine. Scientists think the change in its design may have reduced its effectiveness and how long it offers protection and higher rates of infection were seen in kids who received the acellular vaccine for the first time. Even if this is case, researchers believe the vaccine reduces the severity and duration of the infection and made them less contagious.
Washington State Whooping It Up
On April 3, health officials in Washington state declared an epidemic of whooping cough, also known as pertussis. Over 1200 cases have already been reported in 2012 which is expected to jump to 3,000 by the end of the year. The state is going to spend $90, 000 to raise public awareness of the highly contagious bacterial infection that causes a “whooping” sound as people try to gasp for air after having a coughing fit. Federal money will be used to buy 27,000 vaccine doses and is free for the uninsured. The state is also asking for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A CDC spokesperson suggests the spike is related to teens and adults not getting the booster called Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis) and better diagnosis and reporting of the disease.
Risk Increased 20 Times
A study has found that the pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccines wane in effectiveness after three years. Researchers looked at about 15,000 kids in Marin County, CA and found that those who had been vaccinated at least three years ago had a 20 times increased risk in developing whooping cough. One hundred and thirty two kids became infected with the bacteria which causes a very specific-sounding cough because they are trying to catch a breath. Over eighty percent of those infected had the recommended vaccines at 2 months, 4 to 6 years and finally at 11 or 12 years old. Most kids recover from whooping cough but it can be fatal for infants. These results they may lead to the CDC recommending boosters shots in teens and adults.