Recently, studies of the epidemiology of pertussis have suggested that young adults with waning immunity and mild illness constitute a major reservoir of infection.1 Such patients are more commonly the source of exposure to pertussis in children than previously thought. We report an outbreak of nosocomial pertussis involving ten hospital personnel and patients that was traced to the mother of a patient with pertussis. This outbreak underscores the problem of pertussis in young adults and their potential role in the nosocomial spread of this infection.
See also p 521.
The Outbreak.—The organism was introduced into the hospital by a 4-week-old child (patient 1) and her mother, aged 16 years. The mother reported that she had rhinitis and cough eight days after the birth of her child. The child became ill with similar symptoms at about 3 weeks of age, was admitted to an area hospital on Sept 1,