May 25, 2019 | Updated: 10:06 PM EDT

Whooping cough vaccine is not working as well as it used to

Mar 13, 2019 05:58 PM EDT

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The vaccine that doctors used for whooping cough is reported to not work as effectively as it used it. The reason behind this, based on a recent research, is that the bacteria that causes the disease has mutated. The researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC studied lab sample from whooping cough patients between the years 2000 and 2013 and they found that the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough, has mutated and gone through some changes genetrically these past few years. 

This means that the vaccine that health professionals are currently using is no longer a match to the bacteria. The researchers hope that the study that was published called "Emerging Infectious Diseases" will help guide the health professionals and urge them to make some changes. 

"The genomic data we provide will aid open research toward improved vaccine development and disease control strategies," the CDC authors wrote in their report.

"The pertussis vaccine is not optimal," said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

"We're making the best use of the vaccine, while we're frantically doing research to make a better one," said Schaffner. But a new vaccine for whooping cough is nowhere near ready, he said.

Those who get whooing cough are at risk, but toddlers have it the worse. Babies and children receive a vaccine called DTaP. This vaccine can help protect them from three diseases: pertussis, tetanus and diphtheria. The study has shown that the vaccine is safe and that it works perfectly agains diphtheria and tetanus as it protects those who gets the vaccine for at least a decade. 

However, this vaccine DTaP is not as effective in preventing whopping cough anymore. Almost all toddlers who received the five recommended doses are secured and protected for a year. After one year, their immunity wagers. After five years from the last dose, the CDC reports that DTaP vaccine protects just 70% of children from the pertussis bacteria. The CDC recommends that a booster shot should be added for preteens, teenagers and even adults and it should be done every 10 years. 

Infacts can't be vaccinated with DTaP, they have to be at least 2 months old. The CDC advices women to get a shot of the vaccine while pregnant so that their child will be born with the protection that they need against whooping cough. Once the child is old enough, then they can get the vaccine themselves. 

"The most protective thing you can do is have a pregnant mom get the vaccine. It is the number one way to protect the baby," said pediatrician Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, Seattle Children's Hospital.

"Whooping cough is insidious, you don't know you have it right away. If you have whooping cough, you should not be around others, particularly pregnant women and infants," said Swanson.

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