Pertussis--United States, 2001-2003

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Dec 23;54(50):1283-6.


Pertussis is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable bacterial illness characterized by paroxysmal cough, posttussive vomiting, and inspiratory whoop. Pertussis also can occur as a mild or moderate cough illness in persons who are partially immune. In the United States, most hospitalizations and nearly all deaths from pertussis are reported in infants aged <6 months, but substantial morbidity does occur in other age groups. Infant/childhood vaccination has contributed to a reduction of more than 90% in pertussis-related morbidity and mortality since the early 1940s in the United States. Estimates of childhood vaccination coverage with > or =3 doses of pertussis-containing vaccine have exceeded 90% since 1994; however, reported pertussis cases increased from a historic low of 1,010 in 1976 to 11,647 cases in 2003. A substantial increase in reported cases has occurred among adolescents, who become susceptible to pertussis approximately 6-10 years after childhood vaccination. Recently, booster vaccines for adolescents and adults combining pertussis antigens with tetanus and diphtheria toxoids (Tdap) were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). On June 30, 2005, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended Tdap for all persons aged 11-18 years. This report summarizes national surveillance data on pertussis reported to CDC during 2001-2003 and focuses on pertussis reported among persons aged 10-19 years before implementation of national recommendations for adolescent pertussis vaccination.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Secondary
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Whooping Cough / epidemiology*
  • Whooping Cough / prevention & control


  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis Vaccines