Top ten - Hot topics behind the headlines

10. Pertussis infections

THE death from pertussis in February of yet another baby too young to be vaccinated sparked calls from frustrated GPs and infectious diseases physicians for a national pertussis strategy to standardise cocooning and other protective measures.

While Australia’s booming pertussis notification rate – a doubling in less than two years – partly reflected more widespread use of PCR testing, concern has been growing about how to combat waning immunity from the acellular vaccine.

In July, the US immunisation advisers recommended pregnant women be vaccinated after 20 weeks to boost the protection of babies younger than six weeks.

And while the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) is set to review the evidence on this, Australian experts keenly await the results of a trial of vaccinating newborn babies, due in 2012. 

9. Antibiotic resistance