May 1993

Unrecognized Pertussis Infection in Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus (Dr Cromer and Ms Goydos); Lederle-Praxis Biologicals, Pearl River, NY (Drs Hackell, Mezzatesta, and Dekker); and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio (Dr Mortimer).

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(5):575-577. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160290081031

• Little information is available regarding the level of immunity to Bordetella pertussis among adolescents. We measured serum antibodies in 156 healthy adolescents to the following pertussis antigens: pertussis toxin, filamentous hemagglutinin, and 69-kd outer membrane protein. In an attempt to identify intercurrent pertussis infections, we also obtained a total of 43 repeated samples during the following 5 years. Using a 50% or greater rise in IgG enzymelinked immunosorbent assay titers to define seroconversion, we found an annual incidence of 6.1%; by alternative definitions of seropositivity, the predicted annual incidence of infection ranged from 1.2% to 8.2%. These data suggest that infection with B pertussis is common in the adolescent population.

(AJDC. 1993;147:575-577)