Whooping cough (pertussis), a respiratory disease caused by Bordetella pertussis, accounts for more than 3,00,000 deaths annually worldwide and its incidence has been rising. B. pertussis is a non-invasive pathogen which localises mainly in the upper respiratory tract and produces a large array of potential virulence factors, many of which play significant roles in the pathogenesis of pertussis. A killed whole cell pertussis vaccine, generally given in combination with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids, has been available in many countries for over 40 years. While its use seems to have controlled pertussis epidemics, concerns over the reactogenicity, ranging from high fever, persistent crying, pain and swelling at the site of injection led to the development of the currently marketed acellular pertussis vaccines (DTaP) which is administered to infants in Australia at 2, 4, and 6 months with a booster at 4-6 years of age. In other countries like the USA, children are also vaccinated at 12-18 months of age. Children under the age of 2 months of age are highly susceptible to the complications of pertussis infection but are too young to be immunised. The concern that young adults (vaccinated during their childhood) with waning immunity against whooping cough may serve as a reservoir for the pathogen for infecting infants (and children), has stimulated interest in the development of an alternative vaccine which can also be used safely in the adult population.
Alternative Whooping Cough Vaccines: A Minireview: Trilochan Mukkur and Peter Richmond
Last date updated on July, 2014