Cherry called the current vaccine a "failure" in his editorial, adding "it is time to recognize the successes of the past and to implement new studies and direction for the control of pertussis in the future."
Booster now crucial
Nevertheless, vaccines are the best prevention against whooping cough. With the 2012 outbreak, the CDC is recommending that all children ages 11 to 12 years receive a DTaP booster. Adolescents and adults should consider the one-dose Tdap vaccine. This is a slightly different formulation of DTaP, but also for diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
Although approximately 300,000 people worldwide die annually from whooping cough, according to the World Health Organization, the disease usually isn't deadly for most American adults. Nevertheless, if infected, you could transmit the disease to someone more vulnerable.
Also, whooping cough is not something to take lightly or to simply soldier through as you would a tough winter cold. Children may miss weeks of school; adults may miss weeks of work. And no lozenge will tame that painful 100-day cough.
Christopher Wanjek is the author of a new novel, "Hey, Einstein!", a comical nature-versus-nurture tale about raising clones of Albert Einstein in less-than-ideal settings. His column, Bad Medicine, appears regularly on LiveScience.
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