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Journal Article

Pertussis in the Preantibiotic and Prevaccine Era, with Emphasis on Adult Pertussis

James D. Cherry
Clinical Infectious Diseases
Vol. 28, Supplement 2. Pertussis in Adults: Epidemiology, Signs, Symptoms, and Implications for Vaccination (Jun., 1999), pp. S107-S111
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4481904
Page Count: 5
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Pertussis in the Preantibiotic and Prevaccine Era, with Emphasis on Adult Pertussis
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Abstract

Pertussis was first recognized as an epidemic disease in the 16th century. The classic illness is a three-stage illness (catarrhal, spasmodic, and convalescent), with a distinctive cough, and its characteristics today are similar to those in the prevaccine era. In the prevaccine era, the calculated attack rate was 872/100,000 population, and the majority of cases occurred in children <5 years of age. On average, there were 7,300 deaths/year; the death rate began to decline before antimicrobial therapy and vaccination. Reported pertussis in adults was rare, but numerous investigators noted that atypical cases of pertussis were common in adults.

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