The global pertussis initiative: Meeting report from the regional Latin America meeting, Costa Rica, 5-6 December, 2008

Rolando Ulloa-Gutierrez*, Daniela Hozbor, Maria L. Avila-Aguero, Jaime Caro, Carl Heinz Wirsing Von König, Tina Tan, Stanley Plotkin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Pertussis remains endemic across the world, with an estimated 279,000 deaths in 2002, the majority in infants under 1 year of age. Worldwide epidemiologic data indicates increasing infection rates in older children and adults, which act as a source of infection to young infants. The Global Pertussis initiative (GPI) is an expert scientific forum, which has published consensus recommendations for the monitoring, prevention and treatment of the disease. This paper reports the proceedings of a regional meeting, held in Costa Rica in December 2008. The meeting gathered information on regional epidemiological, diagnostic capabilities and the ability to introduce GPI recommended vaccine strategies in Latin America. The capacity of Latin American countries to conduct vaccination programs is high and there is considerable government support. Whole-cell pertussis vaccines are used across Latin America, which appear to be quite effective. A 4-dose schedule is typically used (2, 4, 6 and 18 months) and a booster given at 4 to 6 years of age, with coverage often above 90%, but with regions of low coverage due to political and geographical difficulties. Adequate surveillance is lacking in many countries, giving insufficient data to guide vaccination policy. Improvements are being made, with countries such as Costa Rica, Panama and Argentina introducing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnosis. Those countries that do not currently use a preschool booster should launch one. Implementing vaccination programs in adolescents and/or adults to reduce exposure to infants would be beneficial and possible in most countries, given their current infrastructure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-880
Number of pages5
JournalHuman vaccines
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Incidence
  • Latin America
  • Pertussis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Immunology


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