Contagious respiratory tract infection: whooping cough

Author(s): Anette Jacobs

Pertussis (whooping cough) is one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases, claiming the lives of approximately 300,000 children each year. In 1990, the UK launched an accelerated schedule of primary pertussis immunizations at 2, 3, and 4 months, and primary vaccine coverage has been over 90% since 1992. Immunity following vaccination, on the other hand, is only thought to last 4 years-12 years, but immunity following infection is thought to last 7 years-20 years. Pertussis is a known source of socioeconomic stress in youth. Pertussis was linked to a mean medical price of $242 (£144; €177) in the United States and was found to induce school absenteeism in 83% of teenagers for an average of 5.5 days over the course of two years. Between 2001 and 2005, 37% of school-aged children in primary care in the United Kingdom had evidence of recent pertussis infection.