Medscape (Internet) 05/15/06 Although effective vaccines are available, there is an epidemic of pertussis among adolescents, and mortality from invasive meningococcal disease is higher for young adults than for any other age group. Meanwhile, policy and politics are getting in the way of adequate education and immunization of adolescents against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Susan L. Rosenthal, PhD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, told Medscape. Politicians are taking a difficult healthcare issue and making it even more difficult to provide education so that adolescents can make wise decisions, Dr. Rosenthal said.