Age plays a role in immune responses after a natural infection with Bordetella pertussis, the bacterium that causes the contagious respiratory infection pertussis (whooping cough). Vaccination against pertussis has dramatically lowered pertussis incidence and mortality rates since the 50s, but this clever bacterium is making a comeback; pertussis is also becoming more common in people who were vaccinated against it.

Because a natural infection, in comparison with a pertussis vaccine, provides longer immunity against a subsequent whooping cough infection, knowledge of the immune response (immune response) after infection can contribute to developing improved vaccines. This is shown by PhD research by Inonge Twillert at RIVM. Twillert obtained her PhD degree at Utrecht University.

More information on the Utrecht University website