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vaccination injury lawyerA quick survey of the news and media produces daily warnings that pertussis (whooping cough) is on the rise. These sources often blame low vaccination rates or under vaccination. However, that leaves out other important possible factors while stigmatizing parents that choose, for a variety of reasons, not to vaccinate their children.

For instance, researchers have recently found vaccine-resistant strains of bordatella pertussis (the bacteria that causes whooping cough) in the U.S. Researchers analyzed 30 samples of bordatella pertussis specimens from children hospitalized in Philadelphia and found 60% were a variant resistant to the vaccine. The current pertussis vaccine relies on pertactin (a protein on the outer membrane of the bacteria) as an antigen. Meanwhile, the study revealed the pertussis bacteria has developed at least two variants that halt the production of pertactin. This means the immune system, which has developed immunity from the pertussis vaccine, does not recognize the mutated pertussis strain. French studies of pertactin-negative mutated strains have shown that such strains are just as infectious as non-mutated strains.

Another cause of the uptick in cases of pertussis is related to the waning immunity provided by the DTaP vaccine administered to children. Studies have revealed that the protection from the fifth dose of DTaP (usually administered between 4 and 6 years old) decreases substantially during the five year period following vaccination.

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