News / Health

Pertussis Rises, Research Focuses on Vaccine

Pertussis Rises, Research Focuses on Vaccinei
|| 0:00:00
X
Carol Pearson
December 11, 2012 2:48 AM
Pertussis is one of the leading causes of unnecessary infant and child deaths worldwide. The deaths could largely be prevented with a vaccine. Most of the cases of pertussis occur in developing countries, but the US has seen an increase in recent years. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the latest research on this highly contagious disease.

Pertussis Rises, Research Focuses on Vaccine

Carol Pearson
Pertussis is one of the leading causes of unnecessary infant and child deaths worldwide. The deaths could largely be prevented with a vaccine. Most of the cases of pertussis occur in developing countries, but the U.S. has seen an increase in recent years. 
 
Pertussis often starts with cold-like symptoms, but Lara Misegades at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that's where the similarities end. She led a study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
 
“Pertussis is a very contagious respiratory disease, and it’s also known as whooping cough. It’s caused by a bacteria and it can cause violent coughing fits that last for a very long time, up to 10 weeks or more," she said. 
 
Colds are caused by viruses. Like a cold, pertussis can affect anyone but can be life-threatening for infants, young children and the elderly.
 
Globally, up to 50 million people get pertussis each year and it causes 300,000 deaths.  Ninety percent of the cases are in developing countries. A vaccine can prevent the disease. 
 
The vaccine is given in a series of four shots during infancy and another just before a child starts school. Because of the increase in cases, the researchers studied vaccine histories to see if those who got the disease had completed the five dose series.  
 
"Children with pertussis were less likely to have received the childhood pertussis vaccine series compared to children who did not have pertussis," said Misegades. 
 
The researchers also found that protection from immunization declines over time. 
 
Dr. Gregory Poland at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota says the vaccine is highly effective at first. 
 
"In year one, after getting the vaccine, the efficacy is nearly 100 percent, which is why I say it is an excellent short-term vaccine. By year five, you’re down to an efficacy of about 30 percent," he said. 
 
Dr. Poland says pertussis is mistakenly called a childhood disease. It's really a disease that adults and teenagers give to children.  
 
Doctors recommend that pregnant women get a booster vaccine so they don't get sick and so their newborns have some protection.  Doctors also recommend that adults who spend a lot of time with young children get periodic boosters.  
 
"It really is an all-round education effort to get people to realize that anyone is susceptible to pertussis, everyone needs to get a vaccine or booster against pertussis, and anyone who has a nagging, ongoing cough that lasts and lasts and lasts, ought to see their physician with the thought of pertussis," he said. 
 
The goal is to develop a better vaccine, but meantime people can take basic steps, such as washing hands often and getting vaccinated.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid