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September 1983

Campaign of Terror

Author Affiliations

Department of Paediatrics Charing Cross Hospital (Fulham) Fulham Palace Road W6 8RF London, England

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(9):922-923. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140350094031

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London.—Good news is no news, only bad news, as journalists will tell you. The miniepidemic in the middle of 1982 could not have come at a more opportune moment. Thus, in the comparative lull of the usual tales of murder and destruction, the predicted rise in whooping cough notifications was almost welcome news. Epidemics have occurred regularly every four years since notification of the disease became statutory, and 1982 was an epidemic year. In fact, annual notifications in England and Wales have been comfortably under 20,000 in the last ten years, except in epidemic years, when the numbers have generally trebled. Deaths had long dwindled to less than a hundred by the middle of the 1950s and, in recent years, have not exceeded a dozen at the most. Pertussis vaccination was introduced nationally around 1958, and notifications undoubtedly declined thereafter, but nobody has ever explained why the mortality came