The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published its annual epidemiological report concerning pertussis. In 2018, there were 35,627 cases of pertussis reported by 30 EU and EEA countries. Five countries, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the UK, accounted for 72% of all notified cases.
The notification rate in 2018 was 8.2 cases per 100,000 of the population, which was similar to the previous four years but the lowest observed in this time period. Individuals over 15 years of age accounted for 62% of all cases reported. Infants below the age of one year were the most affected age group, with the highest rate of 44.4 per 100,000 of the population. Three deaths have also been reported in this age group.
The clinical presentation of pertussis in adolescents and adults may be mild and is often not recognised, which contributes to bacteria circulation in the population. This poses a transmission risk to infants who are too young to have completed the primary pertussis vaccination series. The objectives of pertussis prevention and control include prevention of severe disease and deaths among infants under six months, through well-adapted and implemented vaccination programmes. As of August 2020, eight countries have implemented maternal immunisation programmes and five countries’ vaccination programmes include at least one booster, including the pertussis component, in individuals over the age of 18 years.
Source: ECDC, 25 September 2020