With the recent increase in pertussis, what role would the whole cell pertussis vaccine play in slowing an outbreak in a confined group (such as a prison population) versus prophylaxis and antibiotics? — ANDREW O’BRIEN, PA-C, MPH, DFAAPA, Falling Waters, W.V.

The older whole cell pertussis vaccines are thought to offer more protection and effectiveness, compared with the newer acelluar vaccines. But the key aspect that must be remembered is that both offer the combination of diphtheria and tetanus.

The use of whole cell vaccines is believed to be effective and generally inexpensive, and it was recently reported that protection from an outbreak of pertussis was observed among those given whole cell pertussis vaccines. — ABIMBOLA FARINDE, PhD, PharmD, is a professor at Columbia Southern University in Orange Beach, Ala. (200-1) 

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