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Seonju Yi 1 Article
Recent increase in pertussis incidence in Korea: an age-period-cohort analysis
Chanhee Kim, Seonju Yi, Sung-il Cho
Epidemiol Health. 2021;43:e2021053.   Published online August 18, 2021
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Pertussis or whooping cough—one of the most contagious diseases—is caused by the Gram-negative bacterium <i>Bordetella pertussis</i>. Despite a high vaccination rate, Korea recently experienced a resurgence of pertussis. This study explores patterns and possible explanations for this resurgence through an age-period-cohort analysis.
Using secondary data from the infectious disease portal of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency and the Korea Statistical Information Service of Statistics Korea, this study analyzed the incidence of pertussis in Korea to determine which factors contributed to the recent increase using an age-period-cohort model.
Analysis of the age effect indicated that the age group most vulnerable to pertussis was 0-year to 2-year-olds. Analysis of the period effect showed a sharp increase in the incidence rate after 2016. Analysis of the cohort effect showed a significant decrease in incidence beginning with the 1955 birth cohort, with the risk increasing again with the 2000s birth cohort.
Previous studies have suggested 3 main possible explanations for our results. First, the increased incidence rate can be attributed to contact rates. Second, the rate of immunity through natural exposure has decreased due to the low number of circulating pathogens, in turn affecting the trend of infection. Lastly, variations in pathogens may have also contributed to the increase in incidence. Given that the most significant increase in incidence was observed among infants younger than 1 year old, sufficient maternal immunity must be prioritized to provide passive immunity to newborns via the placenta.
Korean summary
본 연구는 연령-기간-코호트 모델을 활용하여 예방접종률이 높은 국가들의 백일해 재출현에 기여하는 요인에 무엇이 있는지 살펴보았다. 연령에 따른 사회적 접촉률(contact rate)의 변화, 자연노출에 의한 면역 강화(natural boosting) 기회의 감소, 그리고 백일해 병원체의 변이가 백일해 재출현의 원인일 수 있다. 분석 결과 영아 집단에서 백일해 발병률이 가장 급격한 증가가 관찰되었으며, 이는 모성면역의 확보가 중요하다는 점을 시사한다.
Key Message
This study examined factors contribute to the re-emergence of pertussis in countries with high vaccination rates using the age-period-cohort model. Changes in social contact rates according to age, reduction in immune boosting opportunities by natural exposure, and variations in pertussis pathogens may be the cause of re-emergence. As a result of the analysis, the sharpest increase in the incidence of pertussis in the infant group was observed, suggesting that securing maternal immunity is important.


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