Seroepidemiology of pertussis among elementary school children in northern Taiwan

Pertussis has been considered a vaccine-preventable “childhood disease”, but a shift in age distribution has been reported worldwide. We conducted a seroepidemiological study in 2013 in Taiwan to elucidate the seroprevalence of pertussis among elementary school children.
With a multilevel randomized method, which included 14 variables (4 population variables, 4 socio-educational variables, and 6 medical facilities’ variables), the 29 executive districts of New Taipei City, Taiwan, were categorized into five strata. From each stratum, the number of school children as well as the number of elementary schools were proportionally selected. Enzyme immunoassay was applied for pertussis immunoglobulin-G measurement.
A total of 936 children from 14 schools were recruited. Most participants (98.89%) received at least three doses of acellular diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine. The overall seropositive rate for pertussis was 33.97%. The seropositive rate was highest for students in Grade 1 (49.36%) and then declined with time, except for Grade 6 students. Students from Grade 1 to Grade 4 had a significant higher seropositive rate (37.18% vs. 27.56%, p = 0.002) than those from Grade 5 to Grade 6, but a lower geometric mean titer (18.71 NovaTec Unit/mL vs. 20.04 NovaTec Unit/mL, p = 0.20). For the class grades, geometric mean titers were positively correlated with seroprevalence (p < 0.005).
Currently, almost one-third of elementary school children in Taiwan were seropositive for pertussis, a rate lower than expected. Seroprevalence declined with increasing class grades except for Grade 6. The current national immunization program may not provide adequate protection for children against pertussis.

Authors:Kuo CC1, Huang YC2, Hsieh YC1, Huang YL3, Huang YC3, Hung YT4.
Journal:J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2015