Pertussis

Last reviewed: 28 Aug 2022
Last updated: 22 Jul 2022

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • cough
  • inspiratory whooping
  • coryza
  • post-tussive vomiting
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • apnoea
  • neurological complications
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • unvaccinated or under-vaccinated status
  • close contact with an infected person, especially in the household
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • culture of a nasopharyngeal aspirate or swab from the posterior nasopharynx
  • nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) of nasopharyngeal aspirate or posterior nasopharyngeal swab
  • serology
  • FBC
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • chest radiograph
  • oral fluid testing
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

infants <1 month of age

infants and children ≥1 month of age and adults

Contributors

Authors

Elisabeth Adderson, MD

Associate Member

St Jude Children's Research Hospital

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center

Memphis

TN

Disclosures

EA declares that she has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr Elisabeth Adderson would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr M. Nawal Lutfiyya and Dr Carrie Sharkey-Asner, previous contributors to this topic.

Disclosures

MNL declared that she had no competing interests. Unfortunately, we have since been made aware that Dr M. Nawal Lutfiyya is deceased. CSA declares that she has no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Anette Faye-Lund, MD

Department of Pediatrics

Hospital of Vestfold

Toensberg

Norway

Disclosures

AFL declares that she has no competing interests.

Alexander K.C. Leung, MBBS

Pediatric Consultant

Alberta Children's Hospital

University of Calgary

Alberta

Canada

Disclosures

AKCL declares that he has no competing interests.

  • Differentials

    • Viral upper respiratory infection (URI)
    • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)
    • Tuberculosis
    More Differentials
  • Guidelines

    • Child and adolescent immunization schedule: recommendations for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2022
    • Guideline for isolation precautions: preventing transmission of infectious agents in healthcare settings
    More Guidelines
  • Patient leaflets

    6-in-1 vaccine (diphtheria, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, polio, tetanus, whooping cough)

    DTaP vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, and pertussis)

    More Patient leaflets
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