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Severe Pertussis Infections in the United States, 2011-2015.

BACKGROUND: The incidence of pertussis in the United States has increased in recent years. While characteristics of severe pertussis infection have been described in infants, fewer data are available in older children and adults. In this analysis, we characterize pertussis infections in hospitalized patients of all ages.

METHODS: Cases of pertussis with cough onset from 1 January 2011 through 31 December 2015 from 7 US Emerging Infections Program Network states were reviewed. Additional information on hospitalized patients was obtained through abstraction of the inpatient medical record. Descriptive and multivariable analyses were conducted to characterize severe pertussis infection and identify potential risk factors.

RESULTS: Among 15942 cases of pertussis reported, 515 (3.2%) were hospitalized. Three hospitalized patients died. Infants aged <2 months accounted for 1.6% of all pertussis cases but 29.3% of hospitalizations. Infants aged 2-11 months and adults aged ≥65 years also had high rates of hospitalization. Infants aged <2 months whose mothers received acellular pertussis during the third trimester and children aged 2 months to 11 years who were up to date on pertussis-containing vaccines had a 43%-66% reduced risk of hospitalization. Among adolescents aged 12-20 years, 43.5% had a history of asthma, and among adults aged ≥65 years, 26.8% had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

CONCLUSIONS: Individuals at the extreme ends of life may be the most vulnerable to severe pertussis infections, though hospitalization was reported across all age groups. Continued monitoring of severe pertussis infections will be important to help guide prevention, control, and treatment options.

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