Adolescent and adult pertussis: disease burden and prevention

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2006 Feb;18(1):77-80. doi: 10.1097/01.mop.0000192520.48411.fa.


Purpose of review: According to surveillance data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rates of pertussis disease in adolescents and adults have been increasing. This is likely due to increased recognition and waning vaccine-induced immunity.

Recent findings: The presentation of pertussis in adolescents and adults is generally a persistent cough, but more serious complications have been reported. In addition, adolescents and adults often serve as sources of pertussis infection in infants and young children.

Summary: Acellular pertussis vaccines combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids have proven to be well tolerated, immunogenic and effective in reducing pertussis disease in adolescents and adults. These vaccines are currently being recommended to replace the booster diphtheria and tetanus toxoid vaccines in adolescents. Recommendations for the use of these vaccines in adults are still being formulated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Immunity
  • Pertussis Vaccine* / administration & dosage
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whooping Cough / diagnosis*
  • Whooping Cough / epidemiology
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control
  • Whooping Cough / transmission


  • Boostrix
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Vaccine
  • Pertussis Vaccine