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April 1960

Diagnosis of Pertussis by Fluorescent Antibody Staining of Nasopharyngeal Smears

Author Affiliations

Dallas, Texas
From the Departments of Microbiology and Pediatrics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Childrens Medical Center, and Parkland Memorial Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1960;99(4):423-427. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.02070030425004

A reliable and rapid method to establish the diagnosis of pertussis in its early stages is needed to avoid unnecessary exposure of others and to initiate appropriate treatment to reduce the severity and complications of this disease.1 Few laboratories attempt isolation and identification of the etiologic agent because of lack of success with current cultural methods. The fluorescent antibody method for the demonstration of Bordetella pertussis, if reliable, would solve at least some of the clinical and laboratory problems of the disease.

The utility of fluorescent antibody staining for the laboratory diagnosis of bacterial diseases has been established by numerous studies and gives promise of becoming a valuable tool in clinical laboratory diagnosis. Group A streptococci have been observed in direct smears and smears of early enrichment cultures of pharyngeal specimens.2,3 Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli,4 Pasteurella pestis,5 and gonococci,6 for example, have been identified by immunofluorescent

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