A printout for your doctor
Information for doctors
Whooping cough – Doctor to doctor.
Whooping cough is best recognised by hearing or seeing a whooping cough paroxysm. I therefore recommend that patients record a paroxysmal episode and show it to their doctor. Seeing or hearing is believing!
The majority don’t ‘whoop’. Most cases go unrecognised because the patient looks well, there are no physical signs and you never hear them cough.
Most labs can now do simple blood test for pertussis toxin IgG. Ask for “pertussis antibodies” at least 2 weeks into the illness. PCR can be done on a dry throat swab any time in the first few weeks. Oral fluid tests are also done after 2 weeks. In the UK, informing the Health Protection Team should initiate the testing process.
WHO clinical diagnosis requires 3 weeks of paroxysmal coughing only.
Asymptomatic and subclinical infections are more numerous and probably boost immunity usefully. They do not require treatment per se. They tell us the importance of infant and pregnancy immunisation.
Any doctor is welcome to phone me.
This page has been reviewed and updated on 10 September 2023