Pertussis found in one fifth of vaccinated children

In a study of 279 children aged 5-15 years who presented with a persistent cough, defined as lasting two to eight weeks duration, to 22 general practices in the Thames Valley in the UK, researchers from the University of Oxford and Public Health England found 56 children had evidence of recent pertussis infection, including 39 of the 215 children who were fully vaccinated against whooping cough.

The researchers also calculated cough frequencies for six of the fully-vaccinated children diagnosed with laboratory confirmed pertussis and found that four of the children coughed more than 400 times in 24 hours.

Furthermore, the risk of pertussis was more than three times higher in children who had received the pertussis booster more than seven years previously. 

The UK schedule includes acellular pertussis vaccinations at two, three and four months of age, followed by a preschool-age booster but, unlike Australia, there is no scheduled booster for