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NSW Public Health Bulletin archive

The re-emergence of pertussis: implications for diagnosis and surveillance Volume 19 Issue 7-8

Vitali Sintchenko

New South Wales Public Health Bulletin 19(8) 143–145 Published online: 20 October 2008

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Vitali Sintchenko


Pertussis, or whooping cough, a highly contagious disease caused by , is making a comeback globally and nationally in spite of reasonable vaccination coverage. This paper provides an update on laboratory testing methods that assist the confirmation of clinical disease and investigation of outbreaks. Laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis by polymerase chain reaction or serology should be attempted, especially when atypical pertussis is suspected clinically. Genetic and antigenic variations in virulence factors of strains circulating in the population should also be monitored.