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Monday, February 16, 2015


Whooping cough- known medically as pertussis- is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.  Although it initially resembles an ordinary cold, whooping cough may eventually turn more serious, particularly in infants.  The best way to prevent it is through vaccinations.  The childhood vaccine is called DTaP.  The whooping cough booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.  Both DTaP and Tdap protect against whooping cough, tetanus and diphtheria.  Recommended vaccine ages are listed below:

Birth through
6 years
DTaP is routinely recommended at 2, 4, and 6 months, at 15 through 18 months, and at 4 through 6 years.
7 through 10 years
Tdap is recommended for children ages 7 through 10 years who are not fully vaccinated (see not 1) against pertussis:
·         Single dose of Tdap for those not fully vaccinated or
·         If additional doses of tetanus and diphtheria toxoid-containing vaccines are needed, then children aged 7 through 10 years should be vaccinated according to the catch-up schedule, with Tdap preferred as the first dose.
11 through 18 years
Tdap is routinely recommend as a single dose for those 11 through 18 years of age with preferred administration at 11 through 12.  If adolescents (13-18 miss getting Tdap at 11-12 yrs. then administer at the next patient encounter or sooner if that adolescent has close contact with infants.
19 years and older
Andy adult 19 yrs. of age or older who has not received a dose of Tdap should get one as soon as feasible- to protect themselves and infants.  This Tdap booster dose can replace one of the 10-year Td booster doses.  Tdap can be administered regardless of interval since the previous Td dose.  Shorter intervals between Tdap and last Td may increase the risk of mild local reactogenicity but may be appropriate if your patient is at high risk for contracting pertussis, such as during an outbreak, or has close contact with infants.
Pregnant women
Pregnant women should get a dose of Tdap during each pregnancy, preferable at 27 through 36 weeks gestation.  By getting Tdap during pregnancy, maternal pertussis antibodies transfer to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life, before the baby starts getting DTaP vaccines.  Tdap will also help protect the mother at time of deliver, making her less likely to transmit pertussis to her infant.  It is important that all family members and caregivers of the infant are up-to0date with their pertussis vaccines (DTaP or Tdap, depending on age) before coming into close contact with the infant.
Health Care Personnel 
A single dose of Tdap is recommended for health care personnel who have not previously received Tdap as an adult and have direct patient contact.  Tdap vaccination can protect health care personnel against pertussis and help prevent them from spreading it to their patients.  Priority should be given to vaccinating those who have direct contact with babies younger than 12 months.
Tdap can be administered regardless of interval since the previous Td dose.  However, shorter intervals between Tdap and last Td may increase the risk of mild local reactogenicity.

POSTED BY: Ilana Kutinsky, DO