Pertussis is increasing in unimmunised infants: is a change in policy needed?
- aPaediatric Intensive Care and Paediatric Infectious Diseases Units, Department of Paediatrics, St Mary’s Hospital Medical School at Imperial College, London W2 1NY, UK, bPaediatric Intensive Care Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London WC1N 3JH, UK, cDepartment of Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health, University College London WC1N 1EH, UK
- Dr Britto. email:
- Accepted 24 November 1998
The proportion and trend in absolute number of pertussis notifications in young infants has increased each year in England and Wales since the accelerated immunisation schedule was introduced. We report five infants all less than 3 months of age admitted with life threatening pertussis infection to two paediatric intensive care units. Despite aggressive cardiorespiratory support measures, three of the infants died. Pertussis remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in unimmunised infants. In this age group presentation is likely to be atypical and infection more severe. Public health measures to prevent the disease could be strengthened. Chemoprophylaxis should be offered to susceptible contacts and booster vaccinations against pertussis considered.