MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Wang: We have found evidence of recent whooping cough infection in 1 in 5 school age children who see their doctor with a persistent cough and in 1 in 6 children who have been fully vaccinated against whooping cough. We have also shown that whooping cough can still cause clinically significant cough in fully vaccinated children.
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Wang: Whooping cough has previously been reported as being prevalent among patients with persistent cough in several countries, including the United States and Canada, so the prevalence of whooping cough which we found in our study was not entirely unexpected. However, our finding that whooping cough can still cause clinically significant cough in fully vaccinated school age children was less expected. This could potentially have implications for the burden of disease in this age group.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Wang: Clinicians should still consider whooping cough as a possible diagnosis in school age children who present with persistent cough, even if they have been fully vaccinated. If parents suspect that their child might have whooping cough, they should seek advice from a health care professional, who will be able to assess the child and advise on what steps should be taken next.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Wang: The findings of our study highlight the need for more research to establish the socioeconomic burden of whooping cough in school age children and adolescents. This will help inform ongoing discussions about whether the introduction of an adolescent booster vaccination in the UK would be cost-effective.
Whooping cough in school age children presenting with persistent cough in UK primary care after introduction of the preschool pertussis booster vaccination: prospective cohort study
Kay Wang academic clinical lecturer 1, Norman K Fry deputy head 2, Helen Campbell senior clinical scientist3, Gayatri Amirthalingam consultant epidemiologist3, Timothy G Harrison head2, David Mant emeritus professor of general practice 1, Anthony Harnden associate professor 1
BMJ 2014;348:g3668 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g3668a