Arch Dis Child 98:552-555 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302968
  • Review

Strategies to control pertussis in infants

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  1. Gayatri Amirthalingam
  1. Correspondence to Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, Immunisation, Hepatitis and Blood Safety department, Public Health England; gayatri.amirthalingam{at}
  • Received 20 December 2012
  • Revised 9 April 2013
  • Accepted 24 April 2013
  • Published Online First 22 May 2013


The UK is currently in the midst of a large outbreak of pertussis, with the highest morbidity and mortality occurring in young unimmunised infants. This review considers the potential strategies to optimise control of pertussis in infants, including vaccination of (1) adolescents, (2) close household contacts of newborn infants (cocooning), (3) newborn infants and (4) pregnant women. The paper discusses the evidence base for each of these strategies and considers the rationale for the recent introduction of a temporary vaccination programme for pregnant women in the UK in response to the ongoing outbreak.

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