CDC: Whooping Cough Vaccine Recommended for Elderly

Elderly adults in close contact with infants may spread the infection to them
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that adults aged 65 years and older who are in close contact with infants be vaccinated against whooping cough.

The advisory panel's decision was based on an outbreak in California that has included 6,200 reported cases of whooping cough. Nine of 10 infants who have died due to whooping cough in the current outbreak were too young to be completely vaccinated against the disease. The vaccine is administered in a series of shots starting at 2 months of age.

The vaccine for whooping cough was not previously recommended for elderly adults, but health officials believe that elderly adults who are in close contact with infants play a small role in transmitting the infection to infants. Typically, whooping cough outbreaks occur in cycles; the last peak was in 2005.

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