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Whooping cough vaccine fades in pre-teens: study

During a whooping cough outbreak in California in 2010, immunized children between eight and 12 years old were more likely to catch the bacterial disease than kids of other ages, suggesting that the childhood vaccine wears off as kids get older, according to new research.

"We have a real belief that the durability (of the vaccine) is not what was imagined," said Dr. David Witt, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Rafael, California, and senior author of the study.

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. The infection produces an intense cough that lasts weeks and can lead to pneumonia, an inability to breathe or death -- although most cases don't reach such extremes.

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