Skip directly to searchSkip directly to the site navigationSkip directly to the page's main content

Health Indicator Report of Pertussis

Pertussis or "whooping cough" is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Since vaccine-induced immunity to Bordetella pertussis is of limited duration, many adolescents and most adults have little or no residual immunity. Most reported pertussis cases among adolescents and adults are thought to occur because of this decline in protective immunity. Infants who are too young to have been fully vaccinated are at high risk of severe and potentially life-threatening illness from exposure to persons with active disease. Pertussis vaccine led to a dramatic decrease in the incidence of the disease, from approximately 150 cases per 100,000 population pre-vaccine in the 1940s to about 1 case per 100,000 by 1980; however, pertussis disease rates have increased since 1980.


Includes confirmed and probable cases.   U.S. 2014 data are from the "2014 Provisional Surveillance Report," downloaded from on 03/09/2015.

Data Sources

  • New Mexico Data Source, Up to 2005: National Electronic Telecommunications System for Surveillance (NETSS), since 2006: New Mexico Electronic Disease Surveillance System (NM-EDSS). Infectious Disease Epi. Bureau, New Mexico Department of Health.
  • Population Estimates: University of New Mexico, Geospatial and Population Studies (GPS) Program,
  • U.S. Data Source: National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data Interpretation Issues

Probable case definition: In the absence of a more likely diagnosis, a cough illness lasting more than 2 weeks, with at least one of the following symptoms: paroxysms of coughing, inspiratory 'whoop', post-tussive vomiting, and absence of laboratory confirmation and no epidemiologic linkage to a laboratory-confirmed case of pertussis. Confirmed case definition: 1) Acute cough illness of any duration, with isolation of Bordetella pertussis from a clinical specimen, or 2) cough illness lasting more than 2 weeks, with at least one of the following symptoms: paroxysms of coughing, inspiratory 'whoop', or post-tussive vomiting, and at least one of the following: polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positive for pertussis, or contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of pertussis. NMDOH relies on health care providers, laboratories, hospitals, clinics, institutions and individuals to report suspected and confirmed notifiable infectious diseases in accordance with New Mexico Administrative Code Under-reporting can occur due to lack of awareness about reporting requirements or lack of compliance with those requirements. Not all cases of infectious diseases can be detected for various reasons including lack of access to health care services, lack of laboratory testing or concerns about confidentiality. Specific and standardized national case definitions are used to classify disease reports by case status. To report a notifiable disease incident, contact the Epidemiology and Response Division at the New Mexico Department of Health, (505) 827-0006.


The number of probable and confirmed cases of Pertussis per 100,000 population (person-years at risk).


Number of confirmed and probable pertussis cases that occurred during the measurement (time) period.


Estimated total population at risk during the measurement (time) period.
Page Content Updated On 01/23/2019, Published on 01/23/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Thu, 05 August 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Wed, 23 Jan 2019 18:38:28 MST