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Category: Infectious Diseases
A team of researchers suggests that newer whooping cough vaccines, in use since the 1990s, may have led to higher rates of the infectious disease today, as reported by HealthDay. Individuals who are worried about whether they are immune should consider taking a lab test to find out.
During the 1990s, vaccine manufacturers introduced an acellular version of the whooping cough inoculation in order to replace the whole-cell version. The latter had been associated with side effects such as pain at the injection site and, possibly, neurological problems.
In order to investigate further, scientists from Australia reviewed the medical data of more than 58,000 individuals who were born in 1998.
Results showed that whooping cough rates were higher among those who received acellular vaccines, compared to those who had whole-cell vaccines.
"Our findings don't change the fact that vaccinations remain the best way to prevent whooping cough," said lead researcher Stephen Lambert, quoted by the news source. "Children who develop pertussis [whooping cough] despite being vaccinated have milder symptoms, reduced duration of illness and are less infectious to others than children who have not received their vaccines."
Whooping cough is most dangerous among babies younger than 1 year, more than half of whom need to be hospitalized after infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency recommends that pregnant women who had not received a booster shot do so late in pregnancy to help protect the baby.
Individuals who are not sure if they are immune may take a ?lab test to find out.
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