Whooping cough continues to be a major public health problem, even though effective vaccines have been available for more than 50 years. In the last few years, there has been a re-emergence of this infection in some countries, even in those with high vaccination coverage, associated with an increase in cases in adolescents and adults. This increase is explained by the decrease in natural and vaccine immunity with the passage of time and by the reduction in the incidence of this disease due to vaccination campaigns, which have reduced the booster effect induced by natural infection. Pertussis vaccines confer short-term immunity; 4 years after the last dose, vaccine efficacy is 84%, decreasing to 46% after 7 years. Therefore, since the last dose of the diphtheria-tetanuspertussis (DTP) vaccine is administered at the age of 4-6 years in most countries, if there is no natural exposure to Bordetella pertussis, only half of the vaccinated individuals will be protected on reaching adolescence, and the number of susceptible individuals will increase with age. The recent entry on to the market of acellular vaccines with a reduced antigenic component for use in adolescents and adults (DTaP), will allow better control of this infection. Universal vaccination of adolescents is already being carried out in many countries. Vaccination strategies in adults are more difficult to implement, although there is wide consensus in priority risk groups.
- DTaP vaccine
- Pertussis vaccine