Whooping cough, or pertussis, is resurgent in many countries world-wide. This is linked to switching from the use of whole cell vaccines to acellular vaccines in developed countries. Current evidence suggests that this has resulted in the earlier waning of vaccine-induced immunity, an increase in asymptomatic infection with concomitant increases in transmission and increased selection pressure for Bordetellapertussis variants that are better able to evade vaccine-mediated immunity than older isolates. This review discusses recent findings in B. pertussis epidemiology and evolution in the light of pertussis resurgence, and highlights the important role for genomics-based studies in monitoring B. pertussis adaptation.
Keywords: Bordetella pertussis; Epidemiology; Evolution; Genomics; Resurgence.
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