Pertussis Incidence Increasing Among U.S. Adolescents

CDC report says findings support new booster-vaccination recommendation

THURSDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- The pertussis incidence doubled among U.S. children ages 10 to 19 between 2001 and 2003, highlighting the need for adolescents to receive booster vaccines combining pertussis antigens with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Tdap) as recommended in mid-2005 by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), according to a report in the Dec. 23 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The findings indicate that 9,609 pertussis cases were reported in children ages 10 to 19 between 2001 and 2003. Of the 8,286 patients for whom information was provided, 116 (1%) were hospitalized. The authors determined that the annual incidence of pertussis among those aged 10 to 19 increased from 5.5 per 100,000 in 2001, to 6.7 in 2002 and 10.9 in 2003.

The median state average annual incidence for this age group was 3.7 per 100,000, but figures varied widely. Massachusetts alone reported 1,812 cases, accounting for 19% of total U.S. cases in this age group, and had the highest state average annual incidence (78.8 per 100,000).

"Implementing the ACIP recommendation to vaccinate persons aged 11 to 18 years with Tdap should substantially reduce morbidity associated with pertussis among adolescents," the authors conclude. "In addition, the cost of case investigations and outbreak-control measures by local and state health departments likely will be reduced by an effective vaccination program targeting persons aged 11 to 18 years."

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