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Whooping cough shot cuts illness, maybe not spread

By Mike Stobbe

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Nov. 25 2013 2:52 p.m. MST

In this Thursday, May 3, 2012 file photo, Nurses Fatima Guillen, left, and Fran Wendt, right, give Kimberly Magdeleno, 4, a whooping cough booster shot, as she is held by her mother, Claudia Solorio, at a health clinic in Tacoma, Wash. A government study offers a new theory on why the whooping cough vaccine doesn't seem to prevent outbreaks that well. In research involving baboons, researchers found that while the vaccine may keep people from getting sick, it fails to prevent the germ from spreading, said one of the researchers, Tod Merkel of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Ted S. Warren, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

ATLANTA — A government study offers a new theory on why the whooping cough vaccine doesn't seem to be working as well as expected.

Researchers concluded that while the shot may keep people from getting sick, it doesn't prevent them from spreading the germ.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease most dangerous to children. Last year was the nation's worst year for whooping cough in six decades. Some studies have suggested that a newer version of the vaccine doesn't last as long as the old one.

The new research tested the vaccine in baboons. They didn't get sick but still may have been contagious for five weeks.

The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Online: Journal: http://www.pnas.org/

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