February 22, 2015
1 min read

Prenatal, early infant pertussis vaccination may decrease disease severity, mortality

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Infants aged younger than 3 months were affected by pertussis more frequently and severely compared with older infants, and prenatal and early infant pertussis vaccination could decrease disease burden and lethality, according to data presented at the St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Transplant ID Symposium.

“Pertussis, a major cause of childhood disease, is the fifth cause of vaccine-preventable death in children aged younger than 5 years worldwide, mostly in low-middle income countries,” study researcher Herberth G. Maldonado, MD, of the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, and colleagues wrote.

To determine pertussis characteristics, burden, outcomes and coinfections, researchers assessed nasopharyngeal swabs from 68 infants with pertussis-like symptoms from November 2013 to October 2014. PCR analysis confirmed 23.5% of infants had Bordetella pertussis.

Multivariate analysis indicated inspiratory stridor (P = .01) and post-tussive emesis (P = .02) were independent predictors of testing positive for B. pertussis.

B. pertussis complications included pulmonary hypertension (RR = 2.7; P = .04) and death (RR = 3; P = .07).

Approximately 37% of infants died, with those aged younger than 3 months showing greater mortality rates than infants aged older than 3 months.

“Pertussis is a frequent disease among infants in our hospital and molecular diagnosis identifies those infected,” Maldonado and colleagues wrote. “Infants less than 3 months were affected frequently and had more lethality.

“Prenatal and earlier infant pertussis vaccination could decrease the burden of this disease in our institution; such strategies may be applicable in other similar institutions.” – by Amanda Oldt


Maldonado HG, et al. Abstract #T1502. Presented at: St. Jude/PIDS Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Conference; Feb. 20-21, 2015; Memphis, Tennessee.

Disclosure: Infectious Diseases in Children was unable to confirm financial disclosures at the time of publication.