Beating the killer cough

DESPITE the success of the pertussis vaccine, introduced worldwide 60 years ago, there are still peaks of disease activity every 3–5 years, and public health specialists are still struggling to find the best way to protect infants who are too young to be immunised.

Ten infants have died in the UK this year, amid the country’s worst outbreak of pertussis in two decades. In the US, 16 have died, while New Zealand is also in the grip of an epidemic that began last year.

In an attempt to protect this vulnerable group, the US Centers for Disease