Seroprevalence study of B. pertussis infection in health care workers in Catalonia, Spain

Pertussis is a re-emerging infection in countries with high infant immunization coverage. Healthcare workers (HCW) are exposed and can transmit the infection to especially-vulnerable patients. Therefore, pertussis vaccination of HCW is recommended. Between June 2008 and December 2010, 460 HCW from hospital and primary healthcare centers were recruited to determine susceptibility to pertussis. IgG antibodies against pertussis (anti-pertussis ab) were measured, using a routine technique that detects antibodies against pertussis including pertussis toxin (PT) and filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA). Positive results were confirmed with a more-specific technique that only assesses anti-PT IgG antibodies. The median age was 42 years (range, 21-65), 77.3% were female. 172 were nurses, 133 physicians, 60 other clinical workers and 95 non-clinical workers. None had received pertussis vaccination since childhood. The overall prevalence of anti-pertussis antibodies was 51.7%, (95% CI 47.1-56.4). Anti-PT antibodies were determined in the 220 HCW with positive anti-pertussis antibodies: 4 (1.8%) were negative and 33 (15%) had a high titer (≥ 45 IU/mL). No significant differences between the prevalence of anti-pertussis antibodies or anti-TP antibodies were found according to age, type of occupation or type of center. Our study confirms the need for vaccination of HCW because at least half are susceptible to pertussis. High anti-PT titers found in 15% of seropositive HCW showed that they had had recent contact with B. pertussis.


Authors:Urbiztondo L1, Broner S2, Costa J3, Rocamora L4, Bayas JM5, Campins M6, Esteve M7, Borras E8, Domínguez A9, For The Study Of The Immune Status In Health Care TW.

Journal:Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014 Aug