Pertussis in India: Past, Present, and Future

A. J. Chitkara*, S. Balasubramanian, Jaydeep Choudhury, Nabaneeta Dash, Kevin Forsyth, Ulrich Heininger, Daniela Flavia Hozbor, Rudzani Muloiwa, Tina Tan, Carl Heinz Wirsing von König

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While vaccines have markedly reduced the incidence of pertussis, a resurgence has occurred in many countries. Until recently, pertussis has not been recognized as an important public health challenge in India due to its successful infant immunization program. However, India still accounts for a large proportion of the world’s cases, and increasing reports of pertussis in other countries and in neonates have regenerated interest in pertussis among Indian authorities.The Global Pertussis Initiative (GPI) Annual Meeting was held virtually in October 2020, in part, to gain a better understanding of the epidemiology and disease burden of pertussis and to explore opportunities to improve its prevention in India. There was a consensus that pertussis cases are being underestimated in India due to multiple factors, such as a reliance on passive surveillance and diagnostic challenges. India offers both whole-cell pertussis and acellular pertussis vaccines, but vaccine coverage is inconsistent across regions due to differences in vaccine availability, access to health care, and regional administrative challenges. This report summarizes the outcomes and considers the key clinical implications of this meeting.The GPI agreed that active surveillance of pertussis in India would be optimal and recommended several studies, including serosurveillance among women of reproductive age to assess the prevalence of recent pertussis infection and to enable policy changes that will enhance the rational use of acellular and whole-cell vaccines. It also recommended engagement with nongovernmental organizations in order to encourage pregnancy immunization in the public sector.To achieve effective control of pertussis in the future, the GPI recognizes there are opportunities to characterize the burden of pertussis in India appropriately and increase vaccination coverage in multiple age groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-399
Number of pages7
JournalIndian Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • GPI
  • India
  • Pertussis
  • The Global Pertussis Initiative
  • Vaccines
  • Whole-cell and acellular pertussis vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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