Whooping Cough Vaccine for Teens, Adults
Vaccines Should Help Reduce Recent Rise in Whooping Cough
WebMD News Archive
March 15, 2005 - An FDA expert panel has recommended the approval of a pair
of new vaccines designed to prevent whooping cough in adolescents and
Panelists unanimously backed the whooping cough vaccine Boostrix, for 10- to
18-year-olds, and Adacel, for patients between 11 and 64.
Children currently receive a combination diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping
cough vaccine (DPT). Infants are typically vaccinated with three shots at 2, 4,
and 6 months of age.
Whooping Cough on the Rise
But immunity to whooping cough -- also known as pertussis -- and the other
two diseases wanes over years, leaving teens and adults vulnerable to all
three. The diphtheria and tetanus booster shots available to adolescents and
adults don't include whooping cough protection, leaving wide swaths of the
population open to infection.
Whooping cough infections have steadily risen
in the U.S. since the mid-1970s, with 18,000 cases reported in 2004. While the
disease is typically not serious in adults, up to 75% of all cases in infants
and children are thought to come from infected family members.
Whooping cough was a major cause of infant death in the early and mid-1900s.
Today the disease still kills an average of 25 infants per year in the U.S.,
according to the CDC.
The vaccines are similar to shots already widely given to U.S. infants and
"Adding pertussis to the current tetanus and diphtheria booster shot for
teens is a logical strategy to prevent this disease in adolescents," says
Colin Marchant, an adjunct associate professor at Boston University and a
GlaxoSmithKline consultant, in a company statement. GlaxoSmithKline, a WebMD
sponsor, makes Boostrix.