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Incidence whooping cough increasing in US

  1. Dec 10, 2003 #1


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    The number of registered cases of whooping cough in the United States has increased significantly. Especially children under the age of 5 months are at the most risk, since they haven't been fully vaccinated against the disease.

    The number of cases was 19,798 in the '90s, an increase of 49% compared to the previous decennium!!

    The vaccin against whooping cough was developed in the '40s, before that time there were 160,000 cases of wooping cough every year, of which 5000 died a year.

    I wonder why this enormous increase, just because there are so many more people or maybe that the vaccination is becoming less effective due to a new strain?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2015 #2
    The original vaccine used the killed bacteria which was highly antigenic, while this was very effective it tended to increase the number of people that had adverse reactions as the technology changes it became possible to produce a vaccine that caused the body to produce antibodies against 3 specific areas on the bacterial cell wall without using the whole bacteria. This vaccine was far better tolerated. Unfortunately the pertussis bacteria which is very common in the environment has proved to be a bit more adaptable than we thought with many of the strains only expressing one or two of the target sites for the antibodies making the vaccine less effective, it also seems that the length of time that significant immunity is present may have been overestimated. Luckily there was a new vaccine that targeted 4 different sites already being introduced, this helped and there are new guidelines on the frequency of vaccination. Basically, this was all a bit of a surprise so we are playing catch up. However while there are more people developing the disease people who have been vaccinated or partially vaccinated are still at an advantage, when the immune system is already primed our body reacts more quickly and more powerfully to infection. Recovery is quicker, they are less likely to develop serious complications and present a reduced infection risk to others. Hopefully as the new measures take effect the increases in cases will be controlled and hopefully reduced but a new vaccine is needed and there is lots of work to that effect, unfortunately this isn't a disease that we eliminate, the bacteria is always around and has a number of naturally occurring variations.
  4. Nov 16, 2015 #3

    Vanadium 50

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    This thread is 12 years old.
  5. Nov 16, 2015 #4


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    Please do no resuscitate old threads. Start a new one instead.

    Thread closed.
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