Persistent cough: Is it pertussis?

General practice academics at the University of Auckland tried to find out how common the problem is. Over six months, 15 general practices identified patients who presented with acute cough lasting longer than two weeks.

A research nurse recruited 70 children, ages 6–16, and 156 adults, ages 17–49. Samples of oral fluid were tested for antibodies to Bordetella pertussis. The patients also kept a daily cough diary.

Excluding vaccinated patients, the researchers found elevated antibodies in 18% of the children and 7% of the adults. There was no relationship between the presence of antibodies and