US Pharm. 2015;40(7):26.

Santa Fe, NM—The dramatic resurgence in whooping cough is attributed to the waning effectiveness of the current vaccine and growing antivaccine sentiment, but a new study by the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) suggests that the phenomenon is due largely to vaccinated people who are infectious but asymptomatic. In fact, the number of asymptomatic people who transmit whooping cough may be many times greater than the number of symptomatic persons who transmit it. SFI researchers, building on a recent study’s finding that the pertussis vaccines introduced in the 1990s failed to block transmission, used CDC data, genomic data on pertussis bacteria, and a detailed epidemiologic model to determine that acellular vaccines may have contributed to or exacerbated the outbreak by allowing asymptomatic individuals to unknowingly spread pertussis multiple times.

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