Rapid communication Open Access
Like 0


Since January 2024, Italy experiences a pertussis outbreak, primarily affecting neonates and unvaccinated infants at high risk of severe complications and mortality; 11 major paediatric centres noted 108 hospitalisations and three deaths by 10 May. The outbreak reflects increased circulation of and non-adherence to immunisation recommendations during pregnancy. Public health interventions, including maternal immunisation, vaccination of infants as early as possible and post-exposure prophylaxis, are critical for reducing the burden of pertussis and preventing further mortality.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Increase of pertussis cases in the EU/EEA. Stockholm: ECDC; 2024. Available from: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/Increase%20in%20pertussis%20cases%20in%20the%20EU-EEA%20-%20May%202024%20FINAL.pdf
  2. Marshall H, Clarke M, Rasiah K, Richmond P, Buttery J, Reynolds G, et al. Predictors of disease severity in children hospitalized for pertussis during an epidemic. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2015;34(4):339-45.  https://doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000000577  PMID: 25260040 
  3. Stein RT, Zar HJ. RSV through the COVID-19 pandemic: burden, shifting epidemiology, and implications for the future. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2023;58(6):1631-9.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ppul.26370  PMID: 36811330 
  4. Sandoval T, Bisht A, Maurice AS. The impact of COVID-19 and masking practices on pertussis cases at a large academic medical center (2019-2021). Am J Infect Control. 2023;51(7):844-6.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2022.11.012  PMID: 36417951 
  5. Nordholm AC, Emborg HD, Nørgaard SK, Nygaard U, Ronayne A, Nielsen LB, et al. Pertussis epidemic in Denmark, August 2023 to February 2024. Euro Surveill. 2024;29(14):2400160.  https://doi.org/10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2024.29.14.2400160  PMID: 38577803 
  6. Rocha G, Soares P, Soares H, Pissarra S, Guimarães H. Pertussis in the newborn: certainties and uncertainties in 2014. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2015;16(2):112-8. PMID: 25613084 
  7. Nicolai A, Nenna R, Stefanelli P, Carannante A, Schiavariello C, Pierangeli A, et al. Bordetella pertussis in infants hospitalized for acute respiratory symptoms remains a concern. BMC Infect Dis. 2013;13(1):526.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-13-526  PMID: 24209790 
  8. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Pertussis (whooping cough). In: Kimberlin DW, Barnett ED, Lynfield R, Sawyer MH, eds. Red Book: 2021 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2021.
  9. Pehlivan T, Dinleyici EC, Kara A, Kurugöl Z, Tezer H, Aksakal NB, et al. The present and future aspects of life-long pertussis prevention: narrative review with regional perspectives for Türkiye. Infect Dis Ther. 2023;12(11):2495-512.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40121-023-00876-0  PMID: 37815753 
  10. Abu-Raya B, Forsyth K, Halperin SA, Maertens K, Jones CE, Heininger U, et al. Vaccination in pregnancy against pertussis: a consensus statement on behalf of the Global Pertussis Initiative. Vaccines (Basel). 2022;10(12):1990.  https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines10121990  PMID: 36560400 
  11. Di Mattia G, Nicolai A, Frassanito A, Petrarca L, Nenna R, Midulla F. Pertussis: new preventive strategies for an old disease. Paediatr Respir Rev. 2019;29:68-73. PMID: 29914744 
  12. Marcellini V, Piano Mortari E, Fedele G, Gesualdo F, Pandolfi E, Midulla F, et al. Protection against pertussis in humans correlates to elevated serum antibodies and memory B Cells. Front Immunol. 2017;8:1158.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.01158  PMID: 28966622 
  13. Berger JT, Carcillo JA, Shanley TP, Wessel DL, Clark A, Holubkov R, et al. Critical pertussis illness in children: a multicenter prospective cohort study. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2013;14(4):356-65.  https://doi.org/10.1097/PCC.0b013e31828a70fe  PMID: 23548960 
  14. Parisi A, Nuñez O, López-Perea N, Masa-Calles J. Reduced pertussis disease severity in infants following the introduction of pertussis vaccination of pregnant women in Spain, 2015-2019. Vaccine. 2024;42(11):2810-6.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2024.03.028  PMID: 38531728 
  15. Frassanito A, Nenna R, Nicolai A, Pierangeli A, Tozzi AE, Stefanelli P, et al. Infants hospitalized for Bordetella pertussis infection commonly have respiratory viral coinfections. BMC Infect Dis. 2017;17(1):492.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-017-2567-6  PMID: 28701160 
  16. Fedele G, Carollo M, Palazzo R, Stefanelli P, Pandolfi E, Gesualdo F, et al. Parents as source of pertussis transmission in hospitalized young infants. Infection. 2017;45(2):171-8.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-016-0943-6  PMID: 27614887 
  17. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Whooping cough (pertussis)- postexposure antimicrobial prophylaxis. Atlanta: CDC. [Accessed: 1 Jun 2024]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/php/postexposure-prophylaxis/?CDC_AAref_Val=https://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pep.html

Data & Media loading...

Submit comment
Comment moderation successfully completed
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error