Epidemiologic studies have revealed an increase in the rate of pertussis infection despite massive vaccination.1,2 Since no curative treatment is available, antibacterial therapy with erythromycin, 40 to 50 mg/kg, 4 times per day for 2 weeks, is recommended in reducing the length of the illness and in limiting the spread of the infection.3 Newly developed macrolides with improved absorption, longer half-lives, and fewer adverse effects, combined with encouraging efficacy trials, have demonstrated the superiority of new macrolides over erythromycin in upper respiratory tract infections.4 This has led to a switch from erythromycin to the newly available macrolides for the treatment of pertussis. The superiority of short-term treatment with the newly developed macrolides over the conventional long-term erythromycin treatment has been demonstrated.5,6
Steinberg JM, Srugo I. Reoccurrence of Culture-Positive Pertussis in an Infant Initially Treated With Azithromycin and Steroids. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(10):1057–1058. doi:
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