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Pertussis

Today’s topic: Pertussis

Action requested: Assure that everyone is properly vaccinated against pertussis.

Background & Recommendations

California has declared another pertussis epidemic, with more cases in 2014 through November than occurred in all of 2010 (the most recent epidemic).  For details, see http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6348a2.htm?s_cid=mm6348a2_w.  This bodes ill for Washington, which could see increased cases over the next year.  I believe this demands a vigorous outreach effort, to persuade everyone to get vaccinated.  Emerging evidence suggests immunity declines significantly over three years with the current Tdap, possibly faster among pregnant women.  This makes it even more important to vaccinate everyone in order to get some benefit of “herd immunity”.

At this time, repeat doses of Tdap are recommended only for pregnant women (at each pregnancy).  Clinicians should check the Washington Immunization Information System (WA IIS, formerly ChildProfile) to verify when patients received vaccines.  This registry contains records for most Washington residents.  For information about WAIIS and how to access it, see http://www.doh.wa.gov/ForPublicHealthandHealthcareProviders/HealthcareProfessionsandFacilities/DataReportingandRetrieval/ImmunizationInformationSystem.

For guidance about vaccinating for pertussis, see http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/recs-summary.htm.

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