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Pertussis in Chile

Español: Tosferina en Chile

map of 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). The national reference laboratory, Instituto de Salud Pública (ISP) (in Spanish), has diagnostic capacity in culture, direct fluorescent antibody test (DFA), serology, and real-time and isothermal polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Since late 2013, ISP has used real-time PCR as the primary pertussis diagnostic. 5 regional laboratories implemented real-time PCR in December 2015. In December 2015, laboratories were advised to phase out use of DFA for pertussis diagnostics.

Case Definition

Chile’s case definition for suspected pertussis cases for all age groups is:

  • In the absence of a more likely diagnosis, a cough illness lasting for at least 14 days with at least one of the following symptoms:
    • Paroxysmal cough
    • Inspiratory whoop
    • Posttussive vomiting

Note: For newborns and children less than 6 months old, symptoms can also include respiratory infections with apnea.

Pertussis cases are confirmed if they meet the case definition and have positive laboratory confirmation (by culture or real-time PCR). When these are not available, DFA, an epidemiologic link with a laboratory-confirmed case, or clinical criteria (if no sample was taken or an inadequate specimen was collected) are used to confirm pertussis cases as specified in Chile’s surveillance guidelines (in Spanish).

Vaccine Abbreviations

  • DTP – Diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and whole cell pertussis vaccine
  • Tdap – Tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis vaccine
  • HB – Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Hib – Haemophilus influenzae serotype b vaccine

Immunization Program

Chile’s routine immunization schedule includes a pentavalent vaccine, which contains DTP (whole cell pertussis component), HB, and Hib, administered at 2, 4, and 6 months, with a booster given at 18 months. A dose of Tdap is given at 6 (1st grade) and 13 (8th grade) years.

View Chile’s complete vaccination schedule (in Spanish)

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