Thank you for your article on pertussis (Action Stat, July 2006). In 2003 to 2004, our county experienced an outbreak of pertussis, with nearly 400 confirmed or probable cases. One factor leading to this outbreak was a failure of younger clinicians to recognize or even suspect pertussis. Many had never seen pertussis and thought that immunization or history of disease provided lifelong protection. However, waning immunity from immunization became apparent as the outbreak spread through middle- and high-school-age children. Almost all of them had been immunized previously.
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The new Tdap vaccine protects older children and adults from pertussis. A single dose of Tdap vaccine is recommended to replace the routine Td vaccine for adults, especially those who have contact with infants.
JONI L. WHITEHOUSE, RN, BSN
West Bend, Wis.
Editor's note: For more information, see http://www.cdc.gov/nip/recs/provisional_recs/default.htm To learn about another childhood disease that's on the rise in all age-groups, see "Mumps Makes a Comeback" on page 18 of this issue.