What is the role of PCR assays and antigen detection testing in the workup 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

PCR assays and antigen detection are increasingly used to assist in diagnosing pertussis. Advantages include greater sensitivity, more rapidly available results, and use later in the disease course or after antimicrobial therapy because the tests do not rely on the isolation of viable organisms. [32] Their use is limited by lack of standardization and incomplete understanding of the correlation between test results and the course of the illness.


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