An investigation of pertussis cases in a Texas county from 2008 through 2012

Amanda Marie Waclawczyk, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background: Once thought to be eradicated, pertussis is now making a steady comeback throughout Texas and the United States. Pertussis can have an effect on all demographics, but infants have the greatest health concern as they suffer the highest case-fatality rate. The objective of this study was to create and report a comprehensive summary of confirmed or probable pertussis cases in a Texas County during the 2008 through 2012 time period. Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used to show at risk populations in a Texas county using descriptive statistics of data from probable and confirmed pertussis cases in this Texas County from 2008-2012. Data was collected during routine pertussis investigations conducted by the local health department of this Texas County. Results: There was a sharp increase in pertussis cases seen in this county in 2012. Hispanics made up the majority of cases (74.9%) as compared to 12.8% of cases among Whites, 3.1% of cases among Blacks and 9.2% of cases among unknown/other. The population of Hispanics within this county was 58.9%. Almost a quarter of cases (24.2%) in this study were hospitalized. There was no difference identified in the proportion of male sources of exposure (48.9%) as compared to female (51.1%). Household contacts were the main sources of exposure: siblings (29.2%), fathers (14.5%), children (14.6%), and mothers (12.5%). Conclusion: Prevention intervention needs to be designed to target vulnerable populations and reduce the effect of this sometimes fatal disease. These results show pertussis proportionally has a greater effect on Hispanics. Additional research needs to be conducted on risk factors such as household crowding and immunization status among Hispanics to identify if ethnicity plays a role in risk of transmission of pertussis. The results were limited due to the large amount of missing data in vaccination history and identification of source of exposure.

Subject Area

Public health|Hispanic American studies|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Waclawczyk, Amanda Marie, "An investigation of pertussis cases in a Texas county from 2008 through 2012" (2013). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1540559.