Research Paper: Transmission of Bordetella pertussis
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk for acquisition and/or transmission of Bordetella pertussis since exposure of health care workers involved in the care of children with pertussis to the organism is inevitable. (12) Symptoms of early pertussis (catarrhal phase) are indistinguishable from other respiratory infections and conditions.
When pertussis is not considered early in the differential diagnosis of patients with compatible symptoms, HCWs and others are exposed to pertussis, and inconsistent use of face or nose and mouth protection during evaluation and delay in isolating patients can occur. (13) Pertussis should be suspected in HCWs with prolonged cough illness, and immediate action is required to limit the spread of the disease. Examination of work logs for all shifts would identify those hospital workers who had been involved in the care-taking of the index case.
In a study done in Philadelphia, resource consumption during infection control of Pertussis was looked at. The study involved identification of health care workers (HCWs) who had been exposed to individuals who were diagnosed with pertussis. These workers were then given azithromycin as post-exposure prophylaxis and the results yielded that pre-exposure vaccination was more cost-effective than post-exposure prophylaxis for the control of pertussis (12). Affected HCWS should be sent on administrative leave until they have been treated effectively.