Despite modern diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccines and high vaccine coverage, a resurgence of pertussis (whooping cough) has been observed globally. In North America and Europe, high vaccine coverage in children has led to a shift in the age-specific peak incidence of infection away from infants and towards older children and adolescents. However, much less is known about the prevalence of pertussis in older children and adults in the Middle East. A systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and BIOSIS was undertaken to identify studies published between 1 January 1990 and 17 June 2019, with information on pertussis epidemiology, burden of illness, and mortality in school-aged children, adolescents, and adults in the Middle East. Studies identified for inclusion were reviewed narratively because a statistical comparison was not possible because of the mix of methodologies used. The results showed that surveillance data are weak or missing in most Middle Eastern countries, and among 24 epidemiological studies identified, most were from Iran (14), Israel (4), and Turkey (3), with single studies from the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Despite various surveillance periods, clinical definitions, and antibody cut-off values used across the studies, the reported seroprevalence of pertussis antibodies suggested that adolescents and adults are commonly exposed to pertussis in the community and that vaccine-acquired immunity from childhood wanes. Few countries in the Middle East include a diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis (Tdap) booster for adolescents on the national schedule. Israel was the only country with epidemiological data in a population that received Tdap, and the study showed that after the introduction of the adolescent booster dose, there was decrease in pertussis among children aged 5–14 years. To conclude, results from the Middle East suggest that in common with other regions, pertussis is widely circulating and that it might be shifting towards older age groups.
- Eastern Mediterranean
- All age groups