Paediatric hospitalizations due to whooping cough in Spain (1997-2017)

Vaccine. 2019 Oct 8;37(43):6342-6347. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.09.017. Epub 2019 Sep 13.


This epidemiological survey estimates the burden of whooping cough in infants up to 12 months old in Spain during a twenty-one-year period (1997-2017). The survey was conducted by reviewing data from the Spanish Surveillance System for Hospital Data. All hospitalizations due to whooping cough for infants, reported during the 1997-2017 period, were analysed. Codes were selected from the International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis codes 033.0-033.9. To explore the latest national outbreak and the implementation of vaccination in pregnant women, analyses were stratified to compare the following periods: 1997-2010, 2011-2015 and 2016-2017. A total of 13,352 hospital discharges for whooping cough in infants up to 12 months old were reported. A total of 6850 discharges in the period 1997-2010, 5271 in the period 2011-2015 and 1231 in 2016-2017 were identified. The annual hospitalization rate prior to 2011 was 131.02 cases per 100,000 infants; in 2011-2015, the rate was significantly higher (250.13 cases per 100,000 infants) and in 2016-2017 it decreased (157.69 cases per 100,000 infants). Most of the cases (n = 11,446) occurred in infants under 4 months of age, with hospitalization rates of 328.80, 670.81 and 385.84 cases per 100,000 infants up to 4 months of age in the periods 1997-2010, 2011-2015 and 2016-17, respectively. Thirty-four deaths occurred in the period 1997-2010, 36 in the period 2011-2015 and 4 in 2016-2017. All of the deaths occurred in infants under 4 months old. The case fatality rate did not vary significantly across the study periods. Whooping cough infections concentrate in infants up to 4 months of age in Spain. Public health measures such as vaccination of pregnant women, caregivers, health care professionals and relatives, especially young parents, could reduce the hospitalization burden during the current outbreak.

Keywords: Epidemiology; Hospitalizations; Pertussis; Spain; Vaccine; Whooping cough.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mortality
  • Patient Discharge / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pertussis Vaccine / administration & dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data
  • Whooping Cough / epidemiology*
  • Whooping Cough / mortality


  • Pertussis Vaccine