Surveillance and outbreak reports Open Access
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In Sweden, pertussis was excluded from the national vaccination programme in 1979 until acellular vaccination was introduced in a highly endemic setting in 1996. The general incidence dropped 10-fold within a decade, less in infants. Infant pertussis reached 40-45 cases per 100,000 in 2008 to 2012; few of these cases were older than five months. We present an observational 15-year study on the severity of infant pertussis based on 1,443 laboratory-confirmed cases prospectively identified from 1998 to 2012 in the national mandatory reporting system and followed up by telephone contact. Analyses were made in relation to age at onset of symptoms and vaccination history. Pertussis decreased in non-vaccinated infants (2003 to 2012, p?<?0.001), indicating herd immunity, both in those too young to be vaccinated and those older than three months. The hospitalisation rates also decreased (last five-year period vs the previous five-year periods, p <0.001), but 70% of all cases in under three month-old infants and 99% of cases with apnoea due to pertussis were admitted to hospital in 1998 to 2012. Median duration of hospitalisation was seven days for unvaccinated vs four days for vaccinated infants aged 3-5 months. Nine unvaccinated infants died during the study period. .


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