Background: Pertussis caused by Bordetella pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease causing whooping cough in humans of all
ages. This study reports infection rate of pertussis in Palestine between the years 2004-2008 from archived nasopharyngeal samples
collected from clinically- suspected cases.
Methods: A convenience archived DNA samples collected from 267 clinically-suspected pertussis cases were investigated for B.
pertussis. Laboratory diagnosis was done by examining all DNA samples using polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: Approximately 49% (130/267) were confirmed by PCR. A pertussis peak was shown to occur in 2008 with 77% (100/130)
of PCR-confirmed cases isolated in that year. PCR-confirmed cases existed in all Palestinian districts with highest rate in Ramallah,
Bethlehem, Jenin and Al-Khalil. Half of the PCR-confirmed cases (68/130) were less than 2 months old. The positivity rate among
who had three doses of vaccine (at 2, 4 and 6 months) was 38%, and became 50% with the fourth dose at 12 months.
Conclusion: The prevalence of pertussis was found to be significantly high among infants less than 2 months old. Active pertussis
surveillance using rapid PCR assays is essential, as it is helpful in prompt diagnosis and treatment of patients with pertussis.