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vaccination of adolescents for pertussis was associated with
fewer-than-expected hospital stays for infants affected by this dangerous respiratory
infection, according to findings published online Oct. 21 in Pediatrics.
Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Michigan compared pertussis hospitalization
rates for infants before and after 2006, when the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) recommended pertussis vaccines for all teens.
In three of the
four years examined after the teen vaccination recommendations (2008-2011),
investigators found lower hospitalization rates for infants than would have
been expected with no adolescent vaccinations.
In 2011 for
example, the expected hospitalization rate for pertussis if adolescent
vaccinations had not been implemented was 12 hospitalizations per 10,000 infants.
The observed rate following the teen vaccinations was significantly lower at
3.27 hospitalizations per 10,000 infants.
These findings underscore the importance of
increasing vaccination rates among teens and adults to stem an ongoing pertussis
epidemic among infants, says Katherine Auger, MD, MSc, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician in Division of Hospital Medicine.
“We know infants
get pertussis from family members, including older siblings,” Auger said.
“While it is encouraging to find a modest reduction in infant hospitalizations
after the vaccination of adolescents began, there were still more than 1,000
infants hospitalized for pertussis in 2011. Expecting parents should discuss
with their doctors the need for vaccination of all caregivers before the birth
of a baby.”
In addition to
teens, all pregnant women should receive pertussis vaccination during
pregnancy, according to a 2012 CDC recommendation. Auger says future research will explore how
this policy change affects pertussis hospitalization rates in infants.
by Nick Miller, Cincinnati Children’s. Contact: Nicholas.Miller@cchmc.org.
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