Surveillance report Open Access
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Pertussis is not a notifiable disease in France. In addition to a paediatric hospital sentinel surveillance system, pertussis epidemiological data have, since 1996, been gathered through the voluntary notification of community clusters by general practitioners, and since 2001 by the statutory notification of nosocomial infection to the relevant local health authority. The local health authority forwards the information to the French National Institute for Surveillance (InVS). The objective of this study was to analyse pertussis data outside the routine paediatric hospital sentinel surveillance system. We gathered all the information concerning healthcare-associated infections and community clusters of pertussis (specific forms, investigation reports, emails etc.) reported to the InVS between 2000 and 2005. The InVS received and analysed 67 reports with a total of 595 cases. Almost half of the reports (n=31) came from hospitals, and healthcare workers were usually first affected. Control measures were put in place in 22 healthcare facilities and the average duration of an outbreak episode was 48 days. Outside healthcare facilities, clusters were reported also from 17 daycare facilities or schools and five workplaces. Among the 595 cases, six deaths occurred in children under seven months of age. Pertussis is still occurring in France and affects those who are not or who are no longer protected by the vaccine. Infection of infants within the household could be prevented if their parents and siblings were immunised. The number and size of pertussis clusters in hospitals could be reduced through immunisation of health staff, and timely and adequate outbreak management.


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