Epidemiology of pertussis in two Ibero-American countries with different vaccination policies: Lessons derived from different surveillance systems

Rubén Solano, Josefa Masa-Calles, Zacarías Garib, Patricia Grullón, Sandy L. Santiago, Altagracia Brache, Ángela Domínguez, Joan A. Caylà

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Pertussis is a re-emerging disease worldwide despite its high vaccination coverage. European and Latin-American countries have used different surveillance and vaccination policies against pertussis. We compared the epidemiology of this disease in two Ibero-American countries with different vaccination and surveillance policies. Methods: We compared the epidemiology of pertussis in Spain and the Dominican Republic (DR). We present a 10-year observational study of reported pertussis based on suspected and/or probable cases of pertussis identified by the national mandatory reporting system in both countries between 2005 and 2014. Both countries have a similar case definition for pertussis surveillance, although Spain applies laboratory testing, and uses real time PCR and/or culture for case confirmation while in DR only probable and/or suspected cases are reported. We analyzed incidence, hospitalization, case-fatality rates, mortality and vaccination coverage. Results: The average annual incidence in children aged <1 year was 3.40/100,000 population in Spain and 12.15/100,000 in DR (p = 0.01). While the incidence in DR was generally higher than in Spain, in 2011 it was six times higher in Spain than in DR. The highest infant mortality in Spain was 0.017/100,000 in 2011, and the highest in DR was 0.08/100,000 in 2014 (p = 0.01). The proportion of hospitalized cases per year among children <1 year varied between 22.0% and 93.7% in Spain, and between 1.1% and 29.4% in DR (p = 0.0002), while mortality varied from 0 to 0.017 and 0 to 0.08 per 100,000 population in Spain and DR, respectively (p = 0.001). Vaccination coverage was 96.5% in Spain and 82.2% in DR (p = 0.001). Conclusions: Pertussis is a public health problem in both countries. Surveillance, prevention and control measures should be improved, especially in DR. Current vaccination programs are not sufficient for preventing continued pertussis transmission, even in Spain which has high vaccination coverage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1178
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 22 2016


  • Bordetella pertussis
  • Dominican Republic
  • Infectious disease epidemiology
  • Spain
  • Surveillance
  • Whooping cough

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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