Sir.—Immunity in pertussis has not yet been clarified; local immunity probably plays an important role, as Bordetella pertussis causes a noninvasive infection that is restricted to the ciliated respiratory epithelial cells. On the other hand, a toxin produced by B pertussis, lymphocytosispromoting factor, is responsible for systemic manifestations. Hewlett et al1 showed that B pertussis causes an impairment of cell-mediated immunity in children that is reversible with recovery. The use of corticosteroids in pertussis remains controversial; Zoumboulakis et al2 and Chandra et al3 demonstrated a beneficial effect of corticosteroids in reducing the severity and the number of attacks of whooping; however, corticosteroids can impair cellular immunity and could lead to severe complications.
Patients and Methods.—To analyze the role of B pertussis and corticosteroid treatment, we examined T-lymphocyte subpopulations of 11 patients with pertussis. Patients were admitted to our division with the diagnosis of pertussis based
TORRE D, MAGGIOLO F, SAMPIETRO C, INGROSSO G, Issi M, Rossi D. Lymphocyte Subpopulations and Corticosteroid Treatment in Patients With Pertussis. Am J Dis Child. 1986;140(11):1094. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1986.02140250020011