Pertussis

Last reviewed: 26 Apr 2022
Last updated: 18 Aug 2021

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • cough
  • inspiratory whooping
  • rhinorrhea
  • posttussive vomiting
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • sneezing
  • absent or low-grade fever
  • decreased appetite
  • apnea
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • age <6 months
  • baby born to mother who became infected at ≥34 weeks gestation
  • no or incomplete immunization
  • school teachers or healthcare workers (transmission)
  • close contact with an infected person, especially a sibling
  • household contact with an infected person
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • culture of a nasopharyngeal aspirate or swab from the posterior nasopharynx
  • PCR of nasopharyngeal aspirate
  • serology
  • CBC
More 1st investigations to order

Investigations to consider

  • direct fluorescent antibody test
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

infants <1 month of age

infants and children ≥1 month of age

nonpregnant adults

pregnant adults

Contributors

Authors

M. Nawal Lutfiyya, PhD, FACE

Senior Research Scientist

Academic Health Center

University of Minnesota

Twin Cities Campus

Minneapolis

MN

Disclosures

MNL declares that she has no competing interests.

Carrie Sharkey-Asner, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Family and Community Medicine

University of Illinois-Chicago

College of Medicine

Chicago

IL

Disclosures

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

    • Upper respiratory infection (URI)
    • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP)
    • Respiratory syncytial viral (RSV) infection
    More Differentials
  • Guidelines

    • Recommended child and adolescent immunization schedules for ages 18 years or younger, United States, 2020
    • Pertussis: guidance, data and analysis
    More Guidelines
  • Patient leaflets

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

    More Patient leaflets
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