Why Whooping Cough Has Made a Comeback
Flaws in current whooping cough vaccines aren't to blame for rising rates of the disease in the United States, a new study contends.
Researchers attribute a resurgence of the disease since the 1970s to factors that arose long before the latest vaccines were introduced in the late 1990s. Whooping cough, a respiratory disease also called pertussis, can be fatal to babies.
"Conventional wisdom is that the current vaccine is the problem, but that's not consistent with what we see," said Aaron King. He is an infectious disease ecologist and applied mathematician at the University of Michigan.
King and his colleagues concluded that the return of whooping cough has roots in the mid-20th century. It's due to natural population turnover, incomplete vaccination coverage, and gradually weakening protection from a highly effective but imperfect vaccine, they said.