Prevalence of high antibody titers of pertussis in Turkey: Reflection of circulating microorganism and a threat to infants

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Esen B., Coplu N., Kurtoglu D., Gozalan A., AKIN L.

JOURNAL OF CLINICAL LABORATORY ANALYSIS, vol.21, no.3, pp.154-161, 2007 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/jcla.20127
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.154-161
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Acute pertussis infection among adults can cause its transmission to the larger population, especially to infants and young children, who can develop severe disease. In order to determine an age-dependent pertussis immune response, anti-pertussis toxin (PT) antibody was detected by the indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method in serum samples from 2,085 healthy subjects ranging in age from 6 months to >= 60 years. Also included in. the evaluation were responses to a questionnaire including sociodemographic characteristics, vaccination, and infection history. Titers of 50-99 ELISA units (EU)/ mL and of >= 100 EU/mL were accepted as indicative for recent exposure or infection. In addition, 30 EU/mL was estimated to be a sufficient titer in women of childbearing age to protect their newborns until administration of their first dose of pertussis vaccine. After the age of 4-5 years, presence of high-titered antibodies that increase with age might be a reflection of circulating infection and indicate the magnitude of the threat to infants. According to the questionnaires, in the groups younger than 15 years old, three to four doses of diphtheria toxoid-whole cell pertussis-tetanus toxoid (DwPT) were administered in 47.2 to 77.4%, 91.2 to 100.0%, and 83.5 to 100.0% of participants in Diyarbakir, Samsun, and Antalya, respectively. In addition, up to half of the expectant mothers we studied lacked a sufficient level of estimated antibody titers. To protect infants from life-threatening pertussis infection, improving vaccination coverage to ensure herd immunity and uniformly establishing coverage throughout the country are essential. Furthermore, revaccination with acellular vaccine for schoolchildren as well as for the households of pregnant women is recommended.