Prevalence of antibody to bordetella pertussis in neonates and prevalence of recent pertussis infection in pregnant women in Catalonia (Spain) in 2003 and 2013

Pedro Plans, Elena Álvarez, Fernando De Ory, Magda Campins, Toni Payà, Pilar Balfagón, Pere Godoy, Joan Caylà, Ramon Carreras, Lluís Cabero, Angela Domínguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Infections because of Bordetella pertussis still occur in infants and adults in European countries, despite vaccination coverage against pertussis being high. Methods: IgG antibody titers to pertussis toxin (anti-PT) were assessed using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay test (Serion ELISA classic) in 353 cord blood samples from neonates of a representative sample of pregnant women obtained in Catalonia (Spain) in 2013. Neonates with anti-PT titers ≤40 international units (IU)/mL were considered to be unprotected against pertussis. IgG-PT titers >100 IU/mL in umbilical cord samples were considered to be indicative of a current or recent pertussis infection (12 months) in pregnant women. The age-standardized prevalence of recent pertussis infection obtained in this study was compared with the prevalence obtained in 2003. Results: The mean anti-PT titer in neonates was 10.8 IU/mL and 89.8% of neonates were unprotected against pertussis. The prevalence of unprotected neonates as defined by cord blood anti-PT ≤ 40 IU/mL was 90%. The prevalence of recent pertussis infection in pregnant women as defined by cord blood anti-PT >100 IU/mL was 2%. The diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccination coverage during childhood in pregnant women was 75%. The age-standardized prevalence of recent pertussis infection in pregnant women observed in this study (2.2%) was slightly higher than the prevalence obtained in 2003 (1.5%), with an odds ratio = 1.45 (95% confidence intervals: 0.5-3.9), although differences were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Most neonates are unprotected against pertussis and pertussis infections are frequent in pregnant women in Catalonia. Infants and pregnant women should be the priority population groups for pertussis prevention programs in Catalonia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1114-1118
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Infectious Disease Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes



  • Neonates
  • Pertussis immunity
  • Pertussis infection
  • Seroepidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)

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