Pertussis in Chile


In January 2013, CDC-Latin American Pertussis Project conducted an initial assessment of the pertussis surveillance system and laboratory capacity in Chile. Chile’s Ministry of Health uses a standardized data collection form and case definition for pertussis (known as coqueluche).

map of Chile

The national reference laboratory, Instituto de Salud Pública (ISP)external icon (in Spanish), has diagnostic capacity in culture, and real-time and isothermal polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Since late 2013, ISP has used real-time PCR as the primary pertussis diagnostic. Five regional laboratories implemented real-time PCR in December 2015. In December 2015, the Chile Ministry of Health advised regional public health laboratories to phase out use of direct fluorescent antibody for pertussis diagnostics.

Case Definition

Chile’s case definition for suspected pertussis cases, adopted in 2017, include 3 age groups:

    • Under 6 months: Cough, coryza, with or without fever, and at least one of the following symptoms:
      • Paroxysmal cough
      • Inspiratory whoop
      • Posttussive vomiting
      • Apnea
      • Cyanosis
    • 6 months through 9 years: In the absence of a more likely diagnosis, paroxysmal cough of at least 7 days with or without fever and at least one of the following symptoms:
      • Inspiratory whoop
      • Posttussive vomiting
      • Apnea
    • Over 9 years: Paroxysmal non-productive cough illness lasting for at least 14 days with at least one of the following symptoms:
      • Inspiratory whoop
      • Apnea
      • Sweating between coughing fits
      • Posttussive vomiting
      • Worsening of coughing in nighttime

The Ministry of Health confirms pertussis cases if they meet the case definition and have positive laboratory confirmation (by culture or real-time PCR) or epidemiologic link with a laboratory-confirmed case. Cases that meet the clinical case definition for which laboratory confirmation or epidemiologic link to a confirmed case are not available are considered probable cases, as specified in Chile’s surveillance guidelines pdf icon[21 pages]external icon (in Spanish).

Immunization Program

Chile’s routine immunization program changed in 2018 from a pentavalent vaccine which contained DTP (whole cell pertussis component), HB, and Hib, to a hexavalent, which contains DTaP (acellular pertussis component), IPV, HB, and Hib, administered at 2, 4, and 6 months and a booster dose given at 18 months. A dose of Tdap is given at 6 (1st grade) and 13 (8th grade) years. In October 2016, Chile’s Comité Consultivo de Inmunizaciones de la Sociedad Chilena de Infectologíaexternal icon recommended a single dose of Tdap for pregnant women (to be administered between 27 and 36 weeks gestation). In 2018, they implemented a dose of Tdap for pregnant women (to be administered during each pregnancy beginning at 28 weeks gestation). The Ministry of Health is in the process of adopting these recommendations.

View Chile’s complete vaccination scheduleexternal icon (in Spanish)

Vaccine Abbreviations
  • DTP – Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and whole cell pertussis vaccine
  • DTaP – Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine
  • Tdap – Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine
  • HB – Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Hib – Haemophilus influenzae serotype b vaccine
  • IPV – Inactivated polio virus vaccine

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2019