According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is currently experiencing what may turn out to be the largest outbreak of reported pertussis (whooping cough) in 50 years. Why has this theoretically vaccine-preventable disease been on the upswing? The past 45 years have seen concern about the safety of the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine, epidemics stemming from the vaccine's decreased use, and the development of new vaccines using acellular pertussis components (DTaP). In the prevaccine era, the number of reported cases of pertussis reached epidemic proportions every 2 to 5 years.(1),(2) Pertussis immunization in the United . . .
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