Pertussis is a highly contagious infectious disease and remains an important cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Over the last decade, vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of pertussis. Yet, uncertainty in individual vaccination coverage and ineffective case surveillance systems make it difficult to estimate burden and the related quantity of population-level susceptibility, which determines population risk. These issues are more pronounced in low-income settings where coverage is often overestimated, and case numbers are under-reported. Serological data provide a direct characterisation of the landscape of susceptibility to infection; and can be combined with vaccination coverage and basic theory to estimate rates of exposure to natural infection. Here, we analysed cross-sectional data on seropositivity against pertussis to identify spatial and age patterns of susceptibility in children in Madagascar. A large proportion of individuals surveyed were seronegative; however, there were patterns suggestive of natural infection in all the regions analysed. Improvements in vaccination coverage are needed to help prevent additional burden of pertussis in the country.
Keywords: Madagascar; pertussis; serology; vaccination.