Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection. After an incubation period of 9-10 days, patients develop symptoms including cough. In the course of 1–2 weeks, coughing paroxysms ending in the characteristic "whoop" may occur.

The disease mainly affects children under five years of age. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that there were approximately 16 millions cases worldwide in 2008, 95% of which occurred in developing countries.

In spite of the availability of vaccines, pertussis is still endemic in Europe and the United States. This led AMP to carry out a study in Mexico in 2008 on the impact of pertussis in adolescents aged 11 to 16 years. The study revealed a high incidence of pertussis in the population, thereby enabling the Mexican authorities to develop an appropriate strategy to combat the disease.