Background: The Global Pertussis Initiative, an expert scientific forum, was established to address the ongoing problems associated with pertussis disease worldwide.
Methods: The group analyzed pertussis disease trends, developed recommendations to improve disease control through expanded vaccination strategies, and proposed solutions to barriers to implementation and support of research activities.
Results: Bordetella pertussis infection is endemic and continues to be a serious problem among unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated infants. In addition, the reported incidence of pertussis disease is increasing in adolescents and adults, who not only experience a considerable health burden themselves but also infect vulnerable infants.
Conclusions: Current vaccination strategies need to be reinforced. Expanded vaccination should include adding booster doses to existing childhood schedules (preschool or adolescent) and booster doses for those specific adult subgroups that have the highest risk of transmitting B. pertussis infection to infants (i.e., new parents, other contacts of newborns, and health care workers). More epidemiological studies and studies of disease transmission and the cost-effectiveness of vaccination would be valuable, and surveillance, diagnostic improvements, and educational campaigns are needed for implementation. However, as a prelude to universal adult vaccination, immediate universal adolescent vaccination should be instituted in countries in which it is economically feasible.