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Clinical characteristics of hospitalized infants with laboratory-confirmed pertussis in Guatemala
  • Published Date:
    Dec 03 2018
  • Source:
    J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 7(4):310-316.
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Public Access Version Available on: December 03, 2019 information icon
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    Pertussis is an important cause of hospitalization and death in infants too young to be vaccinated (aged <2 months). Limited data on infant pertussis have been reported from Central America. The aim of this study was to characterize acute respiratory illnesses (ARI) attributable to Bordetella pertussis among infants enrolled in an ongoing surveillance study in Guatemala.


    As part of a population-based surveillance study in Guatemala, infants aged <2 months presenting with ARI who required hospitalization were enrolled and nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swab specimens were obtained. For this study these specimens were tested for B. pertussis using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).


    Among 301 infants hospitalized with ARI, we found 11 with pertussis confirmed by PCR (pertussis-positive infants). Compared to pertussis-negative infants, pertussis-positive infants had a higher mean admission white blood cell count (20,900 vs. 12,579 cells/µl, p=0.024), absolute lymphocyte count (11,517 vs. 5,591 cells/µl, p<0.001), rate of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) (64 vs. 35%, p=0.054), and case fatality rate (18 vs. 3%, p=0.014). Ten of the 11 pertussis-positive infants had cough at presentation, and the majority (80%) of these had a cough duration of <7 days and only one had a cough duration >14 days. Fever (temperature ≥ 38°C) was documented in nearly half (45%) of pertussis-positive infants (range, 38.0–38.4°C).


    In this study of infants <2 months of age hospitalized with ARI in Guatemala, pertussis-positive infants had a high rate of ICU admission, and a higher case fatality rate than pertussis-negative infants.

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