Pertussis vax overhaul to fund cocooning touted

Speaking at the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases (ASID) meeting in Adelaide on Wednesday, paediatrician Dr Tom Snelling from the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth said pertussis notifications increased fivefold between 2008 and 2012. While notification rates have declined since 2012, he said its resurgence in other developed countries means Australia needs to consider new strategies to avoid more epidemics.

“The UK and US have moved ahead of Australia to clearly recommend routine immunisation in pregnancy. I think on the basis of our data Australia should follow suit before the next epidemic occurs. In the meantime we may have data from the US or UK that proves what we suspect – that immunising in pregnancy is, in fact, the optimal strategy.”

Dr Snelling’s research showed that if both parents received a booster their newborn was about half as likely to develop pertussis compared to infants in households where neither were