Population-based pertussis incidence and risk factors in infants less than 6 months in Nepal

Michelle M. Hughes, Janet A. Englund, Jane Kuypers, James M. Tielsch, Subarna K. Khatry, Laxman Shrestha, Steven C. LeClerq, Mark Steinhoff, Joanne Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Pertussis is estimated to cause 2 percent of childhood deaths globally and is a growing public health problem in developed countries despite high vaccination coverage. Infants are at greatest risk of morbidity and mortality. Maternal vaccination during pregnancy may be effective to prevent pertussis in young infants, but population-based estimates of disease burden in infants are lacking, particularly in low-income countries. The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of pertussis in infants less than 6 months of age in Sarlahi District, Nepal. Methods. Nested within a population-based randomized controlled trial of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, infants were visited weekly from birth through 6 months to assess respiratory illness in the prior week. If any respiratory symptoms had occurred, a nasal swab was collected and tested with a multitarget pertussis polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. The prospective cohort study includes infants observed between May 2011 and August 2014. Results. The incidence of PCR-confirmed Bordetella pertussis was 13.3 cases per 1000 infant-years (95% confidence interval, 7.7-21.3) in a cohort of 3483 infants with at least 1 day of follow-up. Conclusions. In a population-based active home surveillance for respiratory illness, a low risk for pertussis was estimated among infants in rural Nepal. Nepal's immunization program, which includes a childhood whole cell pertussis vaccine, may be effective in controlling pertussis in infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Infants
  • Nepal
  • Pertussis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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