Pertussis infection has been suspected to be a potential causal factor in the development of atopic disease because of the effect of pertussis immunization on specific IgE antibodies. Although several studies found a positive association between pertussis infection and atopic disorders, this relationship has not yet been studied in a population stratified by vaccination status. To assess the association between pertussis infection and atopic disorders in pertussis-unvaccinated children and in pertussis-vaccinated children. Using data from a previously conducted study on the relationship between the diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis-(inactivated) poliomyelitis vaccination in the first year of life and atopic disorders, the study population of 1872 8-12 yr old was divided into children pertussis-unvaccinated and children pertussis-vaccinated in the first year of life. Within each group, the association between pertussis infection and atopic disorders (both as reported by the parents) was assessed. In the unvaccinated group, there were no significant associations between pertussis infection and atopic disorders. In the vaccinated group, all associations between pertussis infection and atopic disorders were positive, the associations with asthma [odds ratio (OR) = 2.24, 95% confidence interval (CI(95%)): 1.36-3.70], hay fever (OR = 2.35, CI(95%): 1.46-3.77) and food allergy (OR = 2.68, CI(95%): 1.48-4.85) being significant. There was a positive association between pertussis infection and atopic disorders in the pertussis vaccinated group only. From the present study, it cannot be concluded whether this association is causal or due to reverse causation. AD - Department of General Practice, Erasmus MC - University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.