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Age Matters During a Pertussis Outbreak

Open Forum Infect Dis; 2018 Apr 16; Goldstein, et al

Children between the ages of 13-14 years appear to be most at risk for pertussis, suggests an analysis of a 2012 outlook that occurred in Wisconsin.

  • Researchers compared the role of different age groups in propagating the 2012 outbreak by measuring the change in the groups’ proportion of detected cases of pertussis before and after the epidemic’s peak.
  • The data suggests that children aged 13 to 14 years made the largest contribution to the outbreak’s ascent.
  • Children ages 11-12, 7-8, and 9-10 contributed to the outbreak in descending order of magnitude.
  • A more limited role was played by young children, older teens, and adults.
  • The analysis revealed that the 5th dose of DTaP and Tdap protected against infection, with various age groups responding differently.


Goldstein E, Worby C, Lipsitch M. On the role of different age groups, and pertussis vaccines during the 2012 outbreak in Wisconsin. [Published online ahead of print April 16, 2018]. Open Forum Infect Dis. doi:10.1093/ofid/ofy082.