Whole-Cell Pertussis Vaccination and Decreased Risk of IgE-Mediated Food Allergy: A Nested Case-Control Study

Marie J. Estcourt, Dianne E. Campbell, Michael S. Gold, Peter Richmond, Katrina J. Allen, Helen E. Quinn, Julie A. Marsh, Rachel L. Peters, Carolina Valerio, Danyi Dai, Claire S. Waddington, Nicholas J. Wood, Peter B. McIntyre, Patrick G. Holt, Thomas L. Snelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Rates of food allergy have increased markedly in Australia and other high- income countries in recent years. On the basis of ecological observations, and the known immunologic characteristics of whole-cell pertussis (wP) compared with acellular pertussis (aP) vaccines, we hypothesized that wP vaccination in infancy protects against the development of food allergy. Objective: To determine whether infants who receive wP in infancy were less likely to develop IgE-mediated food allergy than those who received aP. Methods: Retrospective cohort-nested case-control study of Australian children born in the period 1997 to 1999, the period of transition from using wP-containing to aP-containing vaccines. Children diagnosed with IgE-mediated food allergy were individually matched to 10 controls by date of birth, socioeconomic decile, and jurisdiction of birth. The odds ratio of vaccination with wP versus aP among cases and matched controls was calculated using conditional logistic regression. Results: The odds ratio of receiving the first dose as wP (rather than aP) among cases of food allergy compared with controls was 0.77 (95% CI, 0.62-0.95). The results of secondary analyses (any dose as wP vs aP-only, and wP-only vs aP-only) were broadly similar. Conclusions: Australian infants who received wP vaccines were less likely to be diagnosed with food allergy in childhood than contemporaneous children who received aP vaccines. If a protective effect is confirmed in a randomized controlled trial, wP or mixed wP and aP vaccination schedules could form part of an effective strategy for combating the rise in food allergies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2014
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


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