Senior Advisor, Dr Cuauhtémoc Ruiz Matus and Regional Advisor, Dr Mauricio Landaverde of PAHO’s Comprehensive Family Immunization Project, along with select participants of Latin American countries conducted a review of the current situation of whooping cough and of the strategies recently implemented in some of the countries of the Region in order to mitigate the outbreaks and the case-fatality of this vaccine-preventable disease.
It was shown that whooping cough is one of the vaccine-preventable diseases that need to join forces to im-prove epidemiological surveillance and confirmation of cases by the laboratory. The countries have introduced different strategies of vaccination for its control, reaching national coverage that seldom exceeds 90% within the target population. This includes the vaccination of children under one year, adolescents, pregnant women and "cocoon strategy", which should be duly evaluated in order to determine its true impact on the reduction of morbidity and mortality. As a result, this will make it possible for these experiences to help with the deci-sion-making of the countries in this Region that have not yet introduced the vaccines, as well as the other regions of the world.
Since heterogeneity exists in the way the countries are carrying out the confirmation of the cases, it was rec-ommended that PAHO review and update the protocol of epidemiological surveillance, which will define the methods for confirming cases, help with resources to hold training workshops and working toward standard-ized laboratory test employed in the Region.
Published in Global Immunization Newsletter, March 2012.