Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Whooping cough – or pertussis – is an infectious disease that is highly contagious, and while there is a vaccine against the disease, it was not always considered safe for everyone.
A new clinical infectious diseases study confirms that older adults can get the vaccine.
Whooping cough is spread by inhaling the bacteria coughed into the air. The illness can lead to infection, hospitalization or even death. The disease killed thousands of people in the United States before a vaccine ever became available.
It continues to cause outbreaks throughout the country.
Prior to 2011, the combined tetanus-diptheria-whooping cough vaccine was not considered safe for adults 65 years of age or older, mainly because there was no data available on this age group – until now.
Researchers studied thousands of elderly people between 2006 and 2010 who received the combined vaccine.
They found that there was only a small increased risk of an adverse or allergic reaction in the first six days following the vaccination.
Researchers concluded that the seniors 65 and older are safe to receive the vaccine and reduce the risk of pertussis.