Are PCR assays reliable for a 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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However, false-positive results have been a problem, with some reports of more than 50%. Although this or a positive culture is the case definition for reporting pertussis to the CDC or the World Health Organization (WHO), some are now recommending confirmation with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) before declaring an epidemic. (Many now consider serologic testing with ELISA to be the criterion standard.)

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