Symptom-Free Carriers Responsible For Rise In Whooping Cough

The United States has seen a rapid rise in whooping cough cases, and Crystal Hunt says symptom-free carriers may be the culprit, according to a new study.

Whooping cough, also known ans pertussis, has been on the rise in the U.S. since the early 2000s. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 28,000 cases were reported in 2014, while only 8,000 cases were reported between 1971 and 2001. The reason for the increase is unknown.

Although many explanations have been cited, epidemiological evidence provided by Dr. Benjamin Althouse and Dr. Samuel Scarpino, suggests that switching from a whole-cell vaccine to an acellular vaccine could be responsible for the increase. The study also acknowledges that the bacterium that causes whooping cough may have developed resistance to some vaccines.

Many interacting factors are at work regarding the infection. “At the end of the day, a new, more effective acellular vaccine is needed,” according to Dr. Althouse. Until another more potent vaccine is created, it is important that anyone susceptible to whooping cough, as well as family members receive vaccinations.