- By Dana Sparks
Whooping Cough - Preventing Outbreaks and Looking at Causes
Whooping cough (pertussis) continues to make headlines, as the U.S. government is calling the latest outbreak the highest infection rate in 70 years. There are increasing rates being reported overseas as well, and while helping prevent the disease is in part up to medical experts, everyone can take some basic steps such as getting vaccinated and staying home when ill.
Gregory Poland, M.D., infectious disease expert and advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says a range of factors could be causing this year’s upsurge in reported cases whooping cough – in some instances one thousand percent increase over two years ago. Dr. Poland recently published a commentary highlighting some possibilities:
- Waning immunity of the vaccine, especially in adolescents and adults.
- Possible skewing of pertussis immune responses in children due to use of a subunit vaccine in early childhood.
- Possible vaccine-resistant strains.
- Inadequate and confusing immunization recommendations and guidelines.
- Lack of awareness of need for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis vaccination.
- Unprecedented global travel and interaction.
- Improper handling of the vaccine.
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B-roll of an infant with whooping cough and sound bites with Dr. Poland are available in the downloads above
To interview Dr. Poland contact: