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Clin Infect Dis. 1995 Mar;20(3):621-8.

Concurrent outbreaks of pertussis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection: clinical and epidemiological characteristics of illnesses manifested by cough.

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National Immunization Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Concurrent outbreaks of illnesses that were manifested by cough and that were suspected to be due to Bordetella pertussis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection were investigated in a midwestern town in Illinois. Three studies were conducted: questionnaires on the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of illness were administered to patients; serological tests were performed to confirm the presence of each pathogen and to develop case definitions for each illness; and case definitions were applied to responses to a mail-in questionnaire for estimating the magnitude of both outbreaks. In 135 cases of suspected pertussis and 42 cases of suspected mycoplasmal infection, subjects had a cough for > or = 14 days (the pertussis outbreak case definition). Among 20 laboratory-confirmed cases, a cough for > or = 14 days had a specificity of 20% for pertussis, and a cough for > or = 28 days plus whoop and/or vomiting had a specificity of 90% for pertussis. Six hundred-seventeen pertussis cases per 100,000 population and 1,179 cases of M. pneumoniae infection per 100,000 population occurred. In this setting, the standard outbreak case definition for pertussis lacked adequate specificity to distinguish pertussis from mycoplasmal infection. The magnitude of each outbreak was greater than the number of reported cases suggested.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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