Pertussis, an acute respiratory infection caused by Bordetella pertussis, classically manifests as a protracted cough illness. The incidence of pertussis in the United States has been increasing in recent years. Immunity wanes after childhood vaccination, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to infection. The transmission of pertussis in health care settings has important medical and economic consequences. Acellular pertussis booster vaccines are now available for use and have been recommended for all adolescents and adults. These vaccines are safe, immunogenic, and effective. Health care workers are a priority group for vaccination because of their increased risk of acquiring infection and the potential to transmit pertussis to high-risk patients. Health care worker vaccination programs are likely to be cost-effective, but further research is needed to determine the acceptability of pertussis vaccines among health care workers, the duration of immunity after booster doses, and the impact of vaccination on the management of pertussis exposures in health care settings
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