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Am J Med. 2007 Apr;120(4):364-8.

Outbreak of pertussis on a college campus.

Author information

1
Office of Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga, USA. allen.craig@state.tn.us

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pertussis is increasing among adolescents and adults despite universal childhood vaccination. This investigation describes an outbreak of pertussis among undergraduate students and assesses the burden of cough illness on a college campus.

METHODS:

Students presenting with prolonged cough were evaluated with culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and serology. An e-mail survey was performed to determine the burden of cough illness on campus.

RESULTS:

Thirty-seven undergraduates were evaluated. Their mean duration of cough was 28 days. No student had cultures positive for B. pertussis; one was PCR positive. Ten (27%) had serologic values consistent with acute pertussis infection. The e-mail survey was returned by 225/500 (45%) students. Of these, 66 (29%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 23%-36%) reported a cough of 2 weeks or longer duration during the fall semester. A conservative estimate showed that the campus-wide incidence of a cough illness meeting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition for pertussis was 13% (95% CI, 10%-16%) during the fall semester.

CONCLUSIONS:

Adolescents and young adults are susceptible to pertussis infection. This study demonstrates that there was a substantial rate of pertussis infection during an outbreak on a college campus. Our findings support the routine use of the acellular pertussis vaccine in adolescents and adults.

PMID:
17398232
DOI:
10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.06.035
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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