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GlaxoSmithKline receives unanimous favorable recommendation by FDA Advisory Committee for Boostrix

iversity School of Medicine, Boston, MA. "Adding pertussis to the current tetanus and diphtheria booster shot for teens is a logical strategy to prevent this disease in adolescents without additional injections and may help reduce the risk of transmission to infants in whom pertussis can be deadly."

Background on Pertussis

Pertussis, commonly known as "whooping cough," is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system that causes spasms of severe coughing. It is spread through airborne droplets of an infected person's cough or sneeze. The first symptoms of pertussis are similar to the "common cold" with a mild fever, runny nose and a cough. Symptoms generally progress to more severe coughing episodes, often with a high-pitched "whoop," followed by vomiting. Adolescents generally exhibit different symptoms of the disease, often without the classic "whoop," making it difficult to diagnose. However, for these older pertussis sufferers, severe coughing episodes can lead to vomiting, a hernia, or even a broken rib. These severe coughing episodes can last up to 100 days. While pertussis is threatening to all, this highly contagious disease can be deadly in infants who are too young to be fully immunized. Up to 90 percent of non-vaccinated susceptible household members may develop the disease when exposed to people infected with pertussis.

Pertussis, which is under-reported and under-recognized, is a common cause of prolonged cough illness in adolescents and adults. In fact, in a clinical study involving 442 adolescents and adults who had a cough-related illness for more than seven days, approximately 20 percent of these patients had laboratory-documented pertussis.

In addition to the public health threat pertussis poses, the disease also has economic repercussions. A cost-benefit analysis for the use of a pertussis booster vaccine in adolescents projected that vaccination of people in the U.S. age
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Contact: Amanda Foley
919-483-2839
Cohn & Wolfe
15-Mar-2005


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