Pertussis in infancy and the association with respiratory and cognitive disorders at toddler age

Sabine C de Greeff, Laura W van Buul, Anneke Westerhof, Alet H Wijga, Jan van de Kassteele, Bregje Oostvogels, Nicoline A T van der Maas, Frits R Mooi, Hester E de Melker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Pertussis in unvaccinated infants can run a severe course and is often accompanied by complications. In this pilot study, we studied whether there is an association between pertussis hospitalisation in infancy and, respiratory symptoms, growth and cognitive development in early childhood. A group of 89 children aged 13-45 months and hospitalised for laboratory confirmed pertussis within the first six months of their life were compared with 172 children without a history of pertussis. Risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) of the association between health outcomes and pertussis in infancy were calculated. Weight-for-length and length-for-age z-scores were calculated to investigate growth. Van Wiechen scores were compared to study cognitive development. Children with a history of pertussis in infancy had a greater chance on "asthma symptoms" (RR 2.8 95%CI 1.1-7.0) on toddler age and were more likely to report "respiratory infections" (RR 3.3 95%CI 1.6-6.6). In addition, children with a history of pertussis in infancy had significantly lower weight-for-height in the first 40 months of life. No significant differences in cognitive development were found. We found an association between severe pertussis in infancy and respiratory symptoms on toddler age. The mechanisms that may underlie this association require further investigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8275-8
Number of pages4
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition Disorders/epidemiology
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders/epidemiology
  • Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pilot Projects
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases/epidemiology
  • Whooping Cough/complications

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