Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 24757515
Ther Adv Vaccines 2013 Jul;1(2):59-66
Universal pertussis vaccination has successfully decreased pertussis mortality and morbidity in childhood. However, despite intensive vaccination of young children, pertussis remains a major public health problem in both developing and industrialized regions. Recent epidemics in California and Australia demonstrated that the agent of the disease is still circulating. They also revealed several aspects that must not be neglected concerning vaccine-preventable diseases. Indeed, pertussis is one of the oldest vaccine-preventable bacterial diseases, so can provide a good illustration of all of the aspects associated with the need for surveillance after the introduction of vaccination. (i) The type of vaccine: two types of pertussis vaccine, whole cell and acellular, inducing different types of immunity are now used around the world. (ii) The vaccine strategy, the vaccine coverage and the duration of vaccine immunity: pertussis epidemics provide evidence that 90% of the infants must be vaccinated, vaccination must be sufficiently early and both vaccine-induced immunity and natural infection-induced immunity to pertussis wane with time indicating that pertussis is not only a pediatric disease. (iii) The agents of the disease, Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis: the intensive vaccination of young infants modified the herd immunity, controlled bacteria similar to the vaccine strains but not all, revealing polymorphism of the agents of the disease evidencing the importance of continuing their isolation and their surveillance as well as monitoring their antibiotic resistance. (iv) The diagnosis of the disease: the epidemics showed the importance of specific diagnostic techniques that are easy to use by medical laboratories and the availability of the reagents required. (v) Communication with the public, the health authorities and the health providers: any changes of vaccine type, vaccine strategy, characteristics of the disease, and biological diagnosis must be associated with appropriate communication with the public and training of healthcare workers. Currently, herd immunity needs to be increased by introducing vaccine boosters for adolescents and adults to protect the most vulnerable group: unvaccinated newborns.