Despite high vaccination coverage, pertussis incidence in the Netherlands is amongst the highest in Europe with a shifting tendency towards adults and elderly. Early detection of outbreaks and preventive actions are necessary to prevent severe complications in infants. Efficient pertussis control requires additional background knowledge about the determinants of testing and possible determinants of the current pertussis incidence. Therefore, the aim of our study is to examine the possibility of locating possible pertussis outbreaks using space-time cluster detection and to examine the determinants of pertussis testing and incidence using geographically weighted regression models.
We analysed laboratory registry data including all geocoded pertussis tests in the southern area of the Netherlands between 2007 and 2013. Socio-demographic and infrastructure-related population data were matched to the geo-coded laboratory data. The spatial scan statistic was applied to detect spatial and space-time clusters of testing, incidence and test-positivity. Geographically weighted Poisson regression (GWPR) models were then constructed to model the associations between the age-specific rates of testing and incidence and possible population-based determinants.
Space-time clusters for pertussis incidence overlapped with space-time clusters for testing, reflecting a strong relationship between testing and incidence, irrespective of the examined age group. Testing for pertussis itself was overall associated with lower socio-economic status, multi-person-households, proximity to primary school and availability of healthcare. The current incidence in contradiction is mainly determined by testing and is not associated with a lower socioeconomic status.
Testing for pertussis follows to an extent the general healthcare seeking behaviour for common respiratory infections, whereas the current pertussis incidence is largely the result of testing. More testing would thus not necessarily improve pertussis control. Detecting outbreaks using space-time cluster detection is feasible but needs to adjust for the strong impact of testing on the detection of pertussis cases.
- HEALTH-CARE WORKERS
- YOUNG INFANTS
- POISSON REGRESSION
- VACCINATION STRATEGIES
- INCREASING INCIDENCE
- DISEASE BURDEN