Old Diseases Pose New Risks to Adults as Childhood Shots Wear Off

May 07, 2008 06:04 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by Josh Katz
Adults who were vaccinated as children against deadly diseases such as whooping cough and mumps may now be susceptible to such illnesses, calling into question the durability of immunizations.

30-Second Summary

Pertussis, otherwise known as whooping cough, has made a resurgence because the vaccinations adults received for the illness as children are wearing off.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says all adults should get the vaccination, “yet only 2 percent of adults have had their shots updated,” according to CNN.

Scientists are still unsure about the durability of many childhood vaccines, and additional long-term studies need to be done, The Canadian Press reports. Dr. Samuel Katz, co-inventor of the measles vaccine and a specialist in pediatric infectious disease at Duke University, said, “I don’t think we know much at all.”

Experts recommend that certain adults get vaccinations for a number of illnesses in addition to pertussis, such as shingles and Hepatitis B.

Recently, many fatal diseases once thought neutralized in the United States have been making comebacks, including measles and mumps. Some parents have chosen to withhold vaccinations from their children, concerned that the immunizations could cause autism. Experts assert this practice may be contributing to the rise in such diseases.

But in 2004, the National Institute of Medicine released a report claiming no evidence linked vaccinations with neurological disorders.

Headline Link: ‘Seven vaccines you need right now’

Background: Childhood shots may begin to wear off into adulthood

Related Topics: Nonvaccination linked to resurgence of childhood illnesses

Reference: Health Web Guide


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