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Infection. 1998 Jul-Aug;26(4):227-31.

Pertussis complications in Germany--3 years of hospital-based surveillance during the introduction of acellular vaccines.

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Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Abt. für Biometrie und Epidemiologie, Düsseldorf, Germany.


Between 1 November 1993 and 31 October 1996, admissions to paediatric departments for Bordetella pertussis complications were reported to a nationwide, hospital-based active surveillance system. The case definition included pertussis complicated by pneumonia, apnoea requiring assisted ventilation, seizures, encephalopathy or a combination of these. Two hundred sixteen cases of pertussis complications were registered. 57.4% of them were in infants, 50.9% of them less than 6 months old. There were five deaths, three previously healthy children died. At the time of hospital admission, 106 cases would have been eligible for at least three doses of pertussis vaccine, only four (3.8%) had received the recommended number of immunisations. From the second quarter of 1995, the reported number of cases declined. The decrease coincides with an improvement of pertussis vaccination coverage between 1992 and 1995 due to an increased use of acellular vaccines. The reduction of complicated pertussis was observed even in age-groups too young for the recommended vaccinations. The observed decrease could be due to the increase in vaccination coverage with interruption of the chain of transmission to the younger age-groups, to a cyclic decrease in pertussis cases, or to a combination of both. Continued surveillance will provide information on the epidemiological trend of hospitalisations for pertussis complications in the first European country to have introduced vaccination with acellular vaccines on a large scale.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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