Usefulness of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis in assessing nosocomial transmission of pertussis

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 1999 Nov;20(11):758-60. doi: 10.1086/501579.


During a 2-week period, three infants with a cough lasting at least 8 days with whoops, were admitted to the pediatric unit; Bordetella pertussis was isolated from nasopharyngeal aspirates collected from the three infants. Approximately 1 week later, a nurse working on the same unit developed influenza-like symptoms followed by whooping cough; B pertussis was isolated. Isolates from the nurse and from one of the infants were shown to be indistinguishable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. These data demonstrate that B pertussis transmission to healthcare workers is possible and emphasize the need to use respiratory protection devices (Droplet Precautions) for healthcare workers having close contact with infected children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bordetella pertussis / classification*
  • Bordetella pertussis / isolation & purification
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional*
  • Nurses*
  • Whooping Cough / diagnosis
  • Whooping Cough / transmission*