Whooping cough proteins evolving ‘unusually’ fast

Dec 28, 2014

By Emma Wilkinson

Whooping cough may be evolving to outsmart the currently used vaccine, say researchers.

Analysis of strains from 2012 shows the parts of the pertussis bacterium that the vaccine primes the immune system to recognise are changing.

It may have “serious consequences” in future outbreaks, UK researchers state in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

But experts stressed the vaccine remains highly effective in protecting the most vulnerable young babies.

There has been a global resurgence of whooping cough in recent years.

In 2012, there were almost 10,000 confirmed cases in England and Wales – a dramatic increase from the last “peak” of 900 cases in 2008.

The outbreak led to 14 deaths in babies under three months of age – the group who are most vulnerable to infection.

Rising figures prompted health officials to recommend vaccination of pregnant women so immunity could be passed to their newborns – a strategy that a recent study showed was working well.


Read the full article by clicking the name of the source located below.

3 comments on “Whooping cough proteins evolving ‘unusually’ fast

  • Only 60% of pregnant women have had the pertussis vaccine and we should be doing more to raise awareness of its benefits, he said.

    All the more reason to support family planning, when we decided to have a child we did our research. Most people when they travel get numerous vaccinations and shots and prepare for all number of possibilities, seems wise to do so if considering getting pregnant. Leave it up to god however…



    Report abuse

  • @OP Analysis of strains from 2012 shows the parts of the pertussis bacterium that the vaccine primes the immune system to recognise are changing.

    Preventative medicines, need to keep working to stay ahead of those evolving mutant strains!



    Report abuse

  • But there has been much debate among experts about whether the introduction of a new vaccine in 2004 has been a factor in rising rates of whooping cough.

    One issue is that immunity from the newer acellular vaccine – which
    contains specific proteins from the surface of the bacteria – does not
    seem to last as long as the previous whole cell version, leaving
    teenagers and adults lacking protection.

    Can anyone expand on the benefits of this for me, I’m guessing it might be that specific proteins might be less risky in terms of less likely to result in getting hooping cough from the vaccine? Anyone got a bit more background in this?



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.