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Pertussis in adulthood

Report of two cases and review of the literature


  • Presented at the Royal Belgian Society for Otorlaryngology & Head and Neck Surgery, Brussels, Belgium, March 14, 2009.


Whooping cough is resurgent in the developed world. Systematic vaccination has changed its epidemiology, with the majority of cases now primarily affecting adolescents and adults. A 46-year-old male physiotherapist presented with a 1-week history of bothersome cough and respiratory difficulties, and a 51-year-old man was admitted to the emergency department with a 4-week history of increasing cough and dyspnea. Polymerase chain reaction of nasopharyngeal swab were positive for Bordetella pertussis. These cases illustrate pertussis in adulthood. We review the clinical features, the prevalence, the diagnostic tools, and the management of the patients and their relatives to increase awareness of this highly contagious disease. Laryngoscope, 2009

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