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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(12), 4626-4638; doi:10.3390/ijerph9124626
Review

Pertussis: A Review of Disease Epidemiology Worldwide and in Italy

1,*  and 2
1 LHU 4 “Chiavarese”, Hygiene and Public Health O.U.,Corso Dante, Chiavari (Ge) 163-16043, Italy 2 National Center for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion (CNEPS), National Institute of Health (ISS), Rome I-00161, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 August 2012 / Revised: 28 November 2012 / Accepted: 30 November 2012 / Published: 11 December 2012
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Abstract

Pertussis continues to be a relevant public-health issue. The high coverage rates achieved have decreased the spread of the pathogen, but the waning of immunity implies a relevant role of adolescents and adults in the infective dynamics as they may represent a significant source of infection for unvaccinated or incompletely immunized newborns. The passive surveillance system is affected by many limitations. The underestimation of pertussis in adolescents, young adults and adults is mainly related to the atypical clinical characteristics of cases and the lack of lab confirmation. The real epidemiological impact of pertussis is not always perceived, anyway, the unavailability of comprehensive data should not hamper the adoption of active prophylactic interventions aimed at preventing the impact of waning immunity on pertussis. To avoid an increase of the mean age of acquisition of the infection, a booster dose of low-antigen content combined vaccine should be adopted in adolescents and adults. A decreased risk of infection in newborns can be achieved with the cocoon strategy, although the debate on this aspect is still open and enhanced surveillance and further studies are needed to fine-tune the pertussis prevention strategy.
Keywords: pertussis; epidemiology; disease; review pertussis; epidemiology; disease; review
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Gabutti, G.; Rota, M.C. Pertussis: A Review of Disease Epidemiology Worldwide and in Italy. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 4626-4638.

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