Economic and social impact of pertussis among adolescents in San Diego county

Aiden K. Varan, Kathleen H. Harriman, Kathleen Winter, Melissa D. Thun, Eric C. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: During recent pertussis epidemics, adolescents have experienced a large burden of disease. We assessed the impact of pertussis among San Diego adolescents and their households. Methods: Parents of pertussis patients aged 13-17 years were surveyed about health care utilization, missed work and school, and other factors. Costs of medical visits, medication use, and lost wages were estimated. Results: The parents of 53 (of 108 [49%]) eligible 2013 pertussis patients were interviewed; 51 (96%) of these patients previously received tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine. Medical visits included primary care (81%), urgent care (11%), and emergency department (9%); all patients received antibiotics. Forty-seven households (89%) received a post-exposure prophylaxis recommendation, and five (9%) reported ≥1 unpaid parental leave day. Thirty-eight patients (72%) missed ≥1 school day (mean = 5.4 days). Societal costs were estimated at $315.15 per household and $236,047.35 in San Diego during 2013-2014. Conclusions: Even among vaccinated adolescents, pertussis can result in considerable societal costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-244
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Aiden K. Varan was supported in part by an appointment to the Applied Epidemiology Fellowship Program administered by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement Number 1U380T000143-01 .


  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Cost of illness
  • Health care utilization
  • Immunization
  • Pertussis
  • San Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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