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Children's Health

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CDC: Start Whooping Cough Booster as Preteen

Boostrix Vaccine Can Be Used Until 18; Adacel Vaccine OK for Adults
WebMD Health News

July 1, 2005 -- All 11- and 12-year-olds should get the new whooping cough booster vaccine, says the CDC.

This doesn't mean an extra shot. The new booster vaccine contains a tetanus and diphtheria booster, which children already routinely get after age 11, as well as the new whooping cough booster.

There are two versions of the whooping cough/diphtheria/tetanus booster. Adacel is the first vaccine approved as a whooping cough booster for adults. Vaccines for prevention of tetanus and diphtheria in adolescents and adults have been available for many years.

In early May, the FDA approved a similar vaccine called Boostrix for use in adolescents 10-18 years old. Adacel is made by Sanofi Pasteur. Boostrix is made by GlaxoSmithKline. Both companies are WebMD sponsors.

Vaccinations against whooping cough, diphtheria, and tetanus are typically given in early childhood. However, the protection generally begins to wear off after five to 10 years.

About Whooping Cough

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract disease. Whooping cough can cause coughing spells and choking, making it hard to breathe. The disease was a major cause of serious illness and death among infants and young children in the U.S. before the whooping cough vaccine was developed in the 1940s.

When teens get whooping cough, it is usually less severe. However, there's a risk that the infection might spread to infants and other family members.

Over the last two decades, cases of whooping cough have risen in very young infants who have not received all their immunizations, and in adolescents and adults. Nearly 40% of whooping cough cases have been seen in adolescents between 10 and 19, the CDC says.

Preliminary data from the CDC indicate that there were nearly 19,000 reported cases of whooping cough in 2004, a 63% increase over 2003. Among adults aged 20 and older, the number of reported cases of whooping cough nearly doubled to 5,365 cases in 2004 compared with 2003.

Boostrix does have some temporary side effects, like pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site. Other side effects include headaches, fever, and fatigue for a short period of time after the infection.

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