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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: whooping cough


 nesha - Sun Aug 12, 2007 12:34 am

Hi,

I am a 22 yr old healthy female who was exposed to four young unvaccinated children who have whooping cough. I got a blood test when I got a cold and was afraid I was developing the cough. The blood test showed elevated whooping cough antibodies but my doctor is unsure if this is because I was vaccinated as a baby or because of my exposure and have my erythromycin just in case. I have two questions: do you think my antibodies could be elevated just because I was vaccinated many years ago or do you think it was caused by my recent exposure? I had been on keflex for five days for strep throat when I found about my exposure to the whooping cough but even so my doctor put me on erythromycin now...do you think I could possibly still be contaigous after a round of keflex if in fact I do have whooping cough?

thanks for your response...my doctor admitted that he has little experience with whooping cough and does not have solid answers for my questions
 dlugose - Mon Aug 13, 2007 3:28 pm

Nesha,
Does your doctor offer you a discount for finding answers for him? Pertussis is a growing health problem becoming more common, and with changes in recent recommendations. Doctors expecting to treat families, or be primary care doctors need to be updated within the last year on this. The CDC has plenty of online information for him. To his credit he is honest in admitting his limitations, and it seems plausible he has given you the right treatment.
It is unlikely your antibody level to pertussis could have persisted from infancy to give a positive test, so you were no doubt exposed by the sick kids. Teens and adults now need to be reimmunized for pertussis before they are exposed, especially if they may have contact with infants, or are in environments like health care or colleges.
The keflex probably was already killing the pertussis, as it is sometimes used for that purpose, but I presume it was reasonable for your doctor to switch to an antibiotic more often used for it. Now that you have been exposed, a vaccine probably won't be needed in the near future. Lots of information at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/default.htm

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