Objective: To assess costs of pertussis morbidity among families in a community setting.
Design: Prospective survey.
Results: Sixty-nine families (87 individuals) were studied. Twelve of 14 families with household contacts included an ill adolescent or parent. This individual was the first identified pertussis case within the household in 8 families. A family member required an average of 1.6 visits before (range, 0-7 visits) and after (range, 0-9 visits) pertussis was diagnosed; children younger than 1 year needed 2.5 and 2 visits, respectively. Symptomatic improvement occurred after a mean of 31 days (range, 4-134 days) after pertussis diagnosis and full recovery after a mean of 66 days (range, 5-383 days). Adults experienced the longest recovery time (median, 93 days) compared with other age groups. The average medical costs for an infant, child, adolescent, and adult were $2822, $308, $254, and $181, respectively. Parents lost an average of 6 workdays (range, 1-35 days) to care for an ill child; for these parents, costs associated with work loss averaged $767 per family. An average of 1.7 and 0.7 lost workdays accrued to bring an ill child to a physician's office and the emergency department, respectively. A majority (58%) of parents working while family members were ill with pertussis reported decreased work productivity ranging from 25% to 99%. Work-related costs contributed more than 60% of the overall costs of pertussis.
Conclusions: The adverse financial effect of pertussis on 69 families in Monroe County, New York, was $145,903 ($2115 per family) and supports the need for booster immunizations in adolescents and adults. Arch Fam Med. 2000;9:989-996