Pertussis Vaccine: How to Protect Your Family

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: Recent pertussis outbreaks may be putting your loved ones in danger. How can you protect yourself?
Air Date: 10/16/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Dr. Saad B. Omer, MBBS MPH PhD
saad omerDr. Saad B. Omer is an Associate Professor of Global Health, Epidemiology, & Pediatrics at Emory University, Schools of Public Health and Medicine. He has worked on studies in the United States, Guatemala, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uganda and South Africa. He has conducted several studies to evaluate the roles of schools, parents, health care providers, and state-level legislation in relation to immunization coverage and disease incidence.

Dr. Omer's research portfolio also includes clinical trials to estimate efficacy and/or immunogenicity of influenza, polio, measles and pneumococcal vaccines; studies on the impact of spatial clustering of vaccine refusers; and clinical trials to evaluate drug regimens to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Africa. Dr. Omer has published widely in peer reviewed journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, the Lancet, British Medical Journal, Pediatrics, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Epidemiology.

In 2009, Dr Omer was awarded the Maurice Hilleman award in vaccinology by the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases on his work on impact of maternal influenza immunization on respiratory illness in infants younger than 6 months, for whom there is no vaccine.
 Pertussis Vaccine: How to Protect Your Family
In 2010, 9,120 cases of pertussis – or whooping cough – were reported in California; the most since 1947.

Several causes of the outbreak have been documented, including waning immunity of the acellular pertussis vaccine.

A new study in the October 2013 Pediatrics examines the role of clusters of individuals who refused the vaccine.

The study, "Non-medical Vaccine Exemptions and Pertussis in California, 2010," published online Sept. 30, analyzes non-medical exemptions for children entering kindergarten from 2005 through 2010, and pertussis cases that were diagnosed in 2010 in California.

Researchers identified 39 statistically significant clusters of high rates of non-medical exemptions, and two statistically significant clusters of pertussis cases. Census tracks within an exemption cluster were 2.5 times more likely to be in a pertussis cluster.

With highly infectious diseases like measles and pertussis, it is estimated that more than 95 percent of the population must be immunized to prevent outbreaks and to reduce the risk of the disease for those too young to be vaccinated or unable to receive vaccines.

Study authors conclude that communities with large numbers of un-vaccinated or under-vaccinated people can lead to pertussis outbreaks, putting vulnerable populations like young infants at increased risk.

Special guest and expert, Dr. Saad B. Omer, shares important information regarding pertussis, as well as how you can protect your loved ones.
aap bumper