What is the criterion standard for the diagnosis of pertussis (whooping cough)?

Updated: May 02, 2019
  • Author: Joseph J Bocka, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

The criterion standard for diagnosis of pertussis is isolation of B pertussis in culture. However, laboratory confirmation of pertussis is difficult and delayed. Therefore, clinicians need to make the diagnosis of pertussis presumptively in patients with a history of intense paroxysmal coughing with or without whooping, color changes, posttussive vomiting, incomplete or absent pertussis vaccination, and a finding of lymphocytosis on laboratory examination.


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