Whooping cough (pertussis) is becoming an adult disease. More than 12 per cent of American adults are affected yet just 3 per cent were likely to catch the disease before mass vaccination programmes were introduced.
By vaccinating the very young, people over the age of 15 are more prone to develop whooping cough, which suggests the vaccine is merely suppressing the disease. It could also be that the vaccine itself is responsible for introducing the disease to an adult population.
Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Vaccine Study Center in Nashville, Tennessee, who carried out the study, recommend that children over the age of seven be given a booster vaccination which may be missing the point.
!AJAMA, June 5, 1996.