Reassessment of the role of whole-cell pertussis vaccine as a cause of permanent neurologic damage is necessitated by the 10-year follow-up of the National Childhood Encephalopathy Study (NCES) in Great Britain. The findings of this study demonstrate that infants and young children with serious acute neurologic disorders are at an increased risk of later neurologic impairment or death, irrespective of the initial precipitating event. The results, however, do not establish a causal relationship between pertussis vaccination and chronic neurologic abnormalities. The Academy reaffirms its earlier conclusion that whole-cell pertussis vaccine has not been proven to be a cause of brain damage and continues to recommend pertussis vaccination in accordance with the guidelines in the 1994 Red Book.

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