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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

The seroepidemiology of pertussis in NSW: fluctuating immunity profiles related to changes in vaccination schedules Volume 22 Issue 11-12

Helen E. Quinn, Deepika Mahajan, Linda Hueston, Patricia Campbell, Robert I. Menzies, Gwendolyn L. Gilbert, Peter B. McIntyre

NSW Public Health Bulletin 22(12) 224-229 Published: 22 December 2011

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About the author/s

Helen E. Quinn

Deepika Mahajan

Linda Hueston

Patricia Campbell

Robert I. Menzies

Gwendolyn L. Gilbert

Peter B. McIntyre


The pertussis epidemic experienced in NSW in 2008–2009 was likely to be in part due to changes in diagnostic practice since 2007, which amplified disease notifications. We used population-based seroepidemiology as a less biased means of interpreting age-specific pertussis infection patterns in NSW from three serosurveys undertaken in 1997–98 (during an epidemic), 2002 (post-epidemic) and 2007 (inter-epidemic), using a standardised pertussis toxin IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). There was a decrease in the proportion of high anti-pertussis toxin IgG titres (>62.5ELISAUnits/mL) across all age groups in the 2007 serosurvey compared to the previous two serosurveys. In the 2007 serosurvey, the proportion of undetectable (<5ELISAUnits/mL) anti-pertussis toxin IgG titres increased in many age groups. The seroepidemiological profiles of the three serosurveys demonstrate fluctuating immunity profiles related to changes in vaccination schedules.