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Pertussis May Be a Cause of Persistent Cough Even in Vaccinated Children — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
June 25, 2014

Pertussis May Be a Cause of Persistent Cough Even in Vaccinated Children

By Cara Adler

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Richard Saitz, MD, MPH, FACP, FASAM

Nearly one in five school-age children in the U.K. visiting a doctor for persistent cough has evidence of recent pertussis infection despite being fully vaccinated, according to a prospective cohort study in BMJ.

U.K. researchers measured antipertussis toxin IgG titers in some 280 children (aged 5 to 15 years) who presented to 22 primary care practices with cough persisting for 2 to 8 weeks. Most patients (77%) were fully vaccinated. (The U.K. schedule includes vaccinations at 2, 3, and 4 months of age, plus a preschool booster 3 years after the last dose; the U.K. has not yet introduced an adolescent booster).

The researchers found evidence of recent pertussis infection in 20% of the children overall — and in 18% of those who were fully vaccinated. Older children who received the preschool pertussis booster more than 7 years previously were three times more likely to have pertussis than younger children who received the booster more recently.

Reader Comments (1)

SHELDON BALL Physician, Geriatrics, Anvita Health

Like influenza and pneumococcus, Bordetella pertussis infects respiratory epithelial cells, and, like the vaccines for influenza and pneumococcus, IgG is elicited with an IM injection, ineffective within the respiratory tract. IgG is effective against blood-borne pathogens.

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