Pertussis continues to be a common worldwide infection in pediatric and adult populations. Researchers aimed to study the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of infants and children admitted for pertussis to a tertiary-care hospital and investigate the risk factors for PICU admission.

Researchers analyzed all medical reports of patients admitted to Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital in Rome with a diagnosis of pertussis with a retrospective study.

Researchers examined 195 patients. The majority of hospitalized children were <3 months of age. No mother had received the pertussis-containing vaccine during pregnancy. Ten cases required admission in PICU. The age at entry was lower in PICU patients concerning ward patients, length of hospital stay was longer in the PICU group. Patients who needed PICU admission had greater white blood cell count at hospital admission than those hospitalized in the pediatric ward. One infant died, and one had encephalitis.

Pertussis is a reemerging disease. In infants, it is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In recent years, many countries have implemented different vaccination strategies and public health measures to prevent pertussis cases. Maternal vaccination is highly protective for infants <3 months of age before they can develop their immunity via vaccination.