The "Red Book," as the Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases has come to be known, is not a static document, but is subject to frequent revision. Not only does each edition contain new information available to the Committee, but between editions the Committee communicates further changes to the medical profession via Pediatrics. These communications constitute "Updates" to the Red Book. As everyone knows, scientific information proliferates exponentially, and so the Updates have appeared more frequently in recent years.
The Update that follows concerns pertussis vaccine, and therefore, it supplements information in the 1982 edition of the Red Book. To place it in context, the entire Red Book section on Pertussis (pp 198 to 202) should be reviewed, as well as the general sections on immunization, particularly the section on Informed Consent (p 4) and the section on Vaccine Dose (p 10).
Like many preventable childhood diseases, pertussis is now infrequently reported in this country. Although more than 200,000 cases were reported annually in the 1930s before pertussis vaccine was introduced, only about 2,000 cases are now recognized each year. The success of the vaccine has resulted in the remarkable decline of a formerly feared illness. As the incidence of the disease has declined, adverse reactions attributed to pertussis vaccine have received greater attention and prominence.
In the United Kingdom, following Professor G. T. Stewart's alarming reports of brain damage due to pertussis vaccine, immunization rates fell profoundly, and as a result widespread outbreaks of pertussis began to occur.
- Copyright © 1984 by the American Academy of Pediatrics