CDC Issues Pertussis Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the continuing resurgence of pertussis likely will cause physicians to see more patients with the illness. It issued an advisory to help physicians make sure they use the proper procedures to correctly diagnose and treat pertussis.

"Proper testing criteria, timing of testing, specimen collection techniques, protocols for avoiding specimen contamination, and appropriate interpretation of test results are all necessary" for an accurate diagnosis through  polymerase chain reaction (PCR), CDC said. "PCR is an important tool for timely diagnosis of pertussis and is increasingly available to clinicians. PCR is a molecular technique used to detect DNA sequences of the Bordetella pertussis bacterium and, unlike culture, does not require viable (live) bacteria present in the specimen. Despite this advantage, PCR can give results that are falsely negative or falsely positive."

Call CDC's 24-hour information line at (800) 232-4636 if you need more information.

Action, March 1, 2011