Pertussis in Mexico


In November 2010, CDC-Latin American Pertussis Project conducted an initial assessment of the pertussis surveillance system and laboratory capacity in Mexico. Mexico’s Ministry of Health uses a standardized data collection form and case definition for pertussis (known as tos ferina).

map of Mexico

The national reference laboratory, Instituto de Diagnóstico y Referencia Epidemiológicosexternal icon (in Spanish), and regional laboratories have laboratory diagnostic capacity in culture and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The national reference laboratory implemented real-time PCR in 2011 and regional laboratories in during 2012–2013. Both culture and real-time PCR are the primary pertussis diagnostics used in Mexico.

Case Definition

The case definition for probable cases of pertussis for all age groups is:

  • Paroxysmal cough for 7 days or more and at least one of the following characteristics:
    • Inspiratory cough
    • Cyanosis
    • Apnea
    • Cough followed by inspiratory laryngeal stridor or inspiratory whoop
  • Posttussive vomiting

Note: Children under 6 months old can present with cyanosis or apnea, regardless of the number of days of cough.

Pertussis cases are confirmed if they meet the case definition, and have positive laboratory confirmation (by culture, real-time PCR, or serology), or are linked epidemiologically to a laboratory-confirmed case, or, if a laboratory sample is not available, by clinical criteria, as specified in the Manual for Epidemiologic Surveillance of Vaccine Preventable Diseases pdf icon[182 pages, 10.5 MB]external icon (in Spanish).

Immunization Program

Mexico’s routine pertussis immunization program includes a pentavalent vaccine, which contains DTaP (acellular pertussis component), IPV, and Hib, administered at 2, 4, and 6 months, and a booster at 18 months. Mexico’s Ministry of Health recommends a dose of DTP vaccine (whole cell pertussis component) at 4 years of age. They also recommended Tdap for all pregnant womenexternal icon at 20 through 32 weeks gestation since 2012.

View Mexico’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