Sixty-five patients with pertussis were identified by a clinical criterion, and Bordetella pertussis was isolated from 75% of these patients or their symptomatic household contacts. Negative nasopharyngeal cultures were usually associated with either a history of antibiotic therapy with erythromycin or tetracycline (two of three patients), two or more diphtheria and tetanus toxoids with pertussis (DTP) vaccines (six of eight patients), or both (two of three patients). Erythromycin therapy resulted in the elimination of B. pertussis from the nasopharynx in 2 to 7 days (mean, 3.6 days) compared with 7 to 17 or more days (mean, > 12 days) in patients treated with no antibiotics, but had no effect on the duration or severity of illness as judged by length of hospitalization. Adenoviruses were recovered from five of 44 patients cultured. Four of these isolates were from throat swabs obtained early in the illness and the remaining isolate was from one of 33 repeated viral cultures obtained two to three weeks later; B. pertussis was also isolated from these five patients. Paired serum samples were obtained from only two of these patients. Neither demonstrated a fourfold rise in adenoviral complement-fixing antibodies. Therefore, in these patients, adenoviral isolation may have been secondary to reactivation of a latent viral infection by infection with B. pertussis.
- Received March 7, 1977.
- Accepted June 28, 1977.
- Copyright © 1978 by the American Academy of Pediatrics