Pertussis – not a specifically children’s disease, current prevention strategies

Klinika Pediatrii i Zaburzeń Rozwoju Dzieci i Młodzieży Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Białymstoku
Kierownik Kliniki: prof. dr hab. n. med. Janina Piotrowska-Jastrzębska
Correspondence to: Klinika Pediatrii i Zaburzeń Rozwoju Dzieci i Młodzieży Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Białymstoku,
ul. Waszyngtona 17, 15-274 Białystok, tel.: 85 745 06 22, faks: 85 745 06 44, e-mail:
Source of financing: Department own sources

Pediatr Med rodz Vol 5 Numer 4, p. 240-244

Pertussis (whooping cough) is an acute infectious disease of children, the most dangerous for newborns and infants. Before common vaccinations were introduced, pertussis was an endemic disease of high morbidity, high death rate, especially in the first year of life, and numerous complications. After the vaccinations were introduced for some time downward tendency of pertussis morbidity was observed. Nowadays morbidity rate is growing (in Poland 3.45 in 2009 vs. 2.25 in 2008), and the reasons for this tendency could lie in the fast extinction of postvaccination response in older children, which makes them vulnerable to infections. In the last decade the increase in pertussis prevalence in adolescents and adults in observed. This fact calls for the intensification of researches into creating new vaccine designed for adolescents and adults. The introduction of 2 new dTap vaccines in the USA in 2005 based on tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine [Boostrix, GlaxoSmithKline (10-18 years of age) and Adacel, Sanofi Pasteur (11-64 years of age)], constitutes a first step towards the improvement of the epidemiological situation. The study presents pertussis prevalence in Poland and in the world, as well as current prevention strategies. Nowadays prevention based on the implementation an adult program (a cocoon strategy and a single booster dose dTap) in addition to childhood and adolescents vaccination seems to be the most effective strategy resulting in significant reduction of pertussis incidence in the all age groups.

Keywords: pertussis, children, adolescents, adults, vaccinations