Children's Hospital Boston: 'none had whoop'

Armen Hareyan's picture
Advertisement

The following is a Children's Hospital Boston internal communication regarding the pertussis situation. Please note that it is dated on December 4. Of the 34 employees who were tested at the state lab, 14 reported cough as part of their illness, and of these 14, one person had paroxysmal cough and none had whoop, apnea, or post-tussive emesis (vomiting after coughing).

Advertisement

The State Laboratory Institute (the lab operated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health) has informed us of new information regarding whooping cough (pertussis) at Children's Hospital Boston. Based on discussions with the State Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it now appears that that the number of cases of pertussis at Children's was much smaller than originally reported.

There are 3 tests typically used to diagnose whooping cough. In an adult with whooping cough, we expect that most of the time, the 3 tests would be positive. One is the PCR test, a sensitive test that has the advantage of being done rapidly, and is therefore the test we generally use to make infection control decisions. The other two tests, culture and serology, take longer for results to come in; and now we have more of that data to share with you.

As you can see, there were 34 employees who initially tested positive at the state lab with the PCR test. Unexpectedly, none of these individuals had a positive culture. Follow-up serology tests were performed on 22 employees who were available for the blood test or hadn't yet been vaccinated. Unexpectedly, those tests all came back negative as well. There were 3 staff members who had positive PCR tests from a reference lab (ARUP); none of those people had culture or serology performed.

Advertisement