The reported incidence of pertussis in England is continuing to decline, though vaccination of pregnant women remains below optimum levels, the latest data from Public Health England (PHE) shows.
There were 908 laboratory confirmed cases of pertussis in the third quarter of 2018, from July to September 2018. Total cases were 31 per cent lower than those reported in the same quarter of 2017 (1,324 cases) and 52 per cent lower than the 1,875 cases reported in this quarter in 2016.
In the third quarter of 2018, the greatest number of laboratory confirmed cases in England continued to be in individuals aged 15 years and over.
There were 15 cases in infants under three months of age, who are targeted by the maternal immunisation programme, in this quarter compared to 49 and 40 cases in the same quarter in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Pertussis vaccine coverage for pregnant women averaged 68.2 per cent across April to June 2018, 3.9 per cent lower than coverage for the same period in 2017 but continuing at the higher levels seen since April 2016.
There were no reported deaths in infants with pertussis confirmed between January and September 2018 and there were no deaths in infants with pertussis confirmed in 2017.
Of the eighteen infants who have died following confirmed pertussis disease and who were born after the introduction of the maternal programme (on 1 October 2012), 16 were born to mothers who had not been immunised against pertussis during pregnancy.