Texas pertussis outbreak reaches epidemic proportions

texas pertussis (texasexplorer98/Nicolas Henderson)

Overall pertussis numbers in the US might be in decline this year compared to last, but a current outbreak of pertussis has reached epidemic levels in Texas.

This year has so far seen nearly 2,000 cases of highly infectious ‘whooping cough' reported in the state – and this figure is only set to rise. According to a Pertussis Health Alert released by the Texas Department of State Health Services earlier this week, the number of cases reported in Texas is likely eclipse the recent record of 3,358, set in 2009.

“If we continue to have cases in Texas at the rate we’ve had them so far this year, we’ll have more cases than has been reported for the last 50 years,” said Dr. Carol Baker, director of the Center for Vaccine Awareness and Research at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, and professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. “We’re clearly having an epidemic.”

State officials called for infants to get the DTaP vaccine series on time, and for pregnant woman to receive the Tdap vaccine ideally between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation. Recent outbreaks of pertussis in the US have been credited to a decline in the efficacy of the DTaP pertussis vaccine over time. Last year, researchers reporting in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the efficacy of DTaP, which was introduced in to the US in 1991, waned substantially over time. A vaccine could be 95% effective at the start, yet only 71% effective five years later.

Read more at Reuters >

You can download a presentation from Camille Locht, delivered at the 13th Annual World Congress Lyon, on the importance of PPP to move new concepts into clinical development: The case of live attenuated pertussis vaccines. Click here to download the presentation.

If you want to know more about vaccines, and meet innovators, disruptors and influencers from across the vaccine research, development and technology landscape, find out about the World Vaccine Congress Europe 2013, 16-17 October 2013, Lille. Download the brochure >

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