Whooping Cough Booster Shot Wins Approval

Also protects against tetanus and diphtheria

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TUESDAY, May 3, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Cases of the bacterial menace known as whooping cough (pertussis) are on the rise in the United States, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a new booster shot against the disease, which could be especially deadly to infants under 1 year old.

According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tallied 18,957 cases of whooping cough last year, up from 11,647 in 2003. Vaccinations administered to people as infants tend to wear off by adolescence, the wire service said. About one-third of the cases reported last year were among adolescents.

While the disease is generally less severe in teens, older children and adults can transmit it to those at greater risk, the FDA said.

GlaxoSmithKline's just-approved Boostrix vaccine is meant for adolescents 10-18 years old. The ingredients are the same as the shot given to infants, only in lower doses. Side effects mimic those of similar booster shots, including pain, redness, and swelling at the injection site, the FDA said.

Americans have been vaccinated against the highly communicable respiratory bug since the 1940s. It's characterized by bursts of violent coughs that cause difficulty breathing and choking.

To learn more about whooping cough, visit Medline Plus.

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