Journal Article

Pertussis in the Preantibiotic and Prevaccine Era, with Emphasis on Adult Pertussis

James D. Cherry

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 28, issue Supplement_2, pages S107-S111
Published in print June 1999 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online June 1999 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/515057
Pertussis in the Preantibiotic and Prevaccine Era, with Emphasis on Adult Pertussis

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Pertussis was first recognized as an epidemic disease in the 16th century. The classic illness is a three-stage illness (catarrhal, spasmodic, and convalescent), with a distinctive cough, and its characteristics today are similar to those in the prevaccine era. In the prevaccine era, the calculated attack rate was 872/100,000 population, and the majority of cases occurred in children <5 years of age. On average, there were 7,300 deaths/year; the death rate began to decline before antimicrobial therapy and vaccination. Reported pertussis in adults was rare, but numerous investigators noted that atypical cases of pertussis were common in adults.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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