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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Recommendations and Reports December 9, 2005 / Vol. 54 / No. RR-14

Recommended Antimicrobial Agents for Treatment


and Postexposure Prophylaxis of Pertussis

2005 CDC Guidelines

depar tment of health and human ser


department vices
services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MMWR

CONTENTS
The MMWR series of publications is published by the
Introduction ......................................................................... 1
Coordinating Center for Health Information and Service, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Disease Burden ................................................................ 1
Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA 30333. Clinical Manifestations ..................................................... 1
Differential Diagnosis ....................................................... 3
SUGGESTED CITATION
Prevention ........................................................................ 3
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommended
antimicrobial agents for the treatment and postexposure Treatment of Pertussis ....................................................... 3
prophylaxis of pertussis: 2005 CDC guidelines. MMWR Recommendations ............................................................... 4
2005;54(No. RR-14):[inclusive page numbers].
I. General Principles ......................................................... 4
II. Specific Antimicrobial Agents ...................................... 10
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Acknowledgements ........................................................... 13
Julie L. Gerberding, MD, MPH
Director References ......................................................................... 13

Dixie E. Snider, MD, MPH


Chief Science Officer
Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD
Associate Director for Science
Coordinating Center for Health Information
and Service
Steven L. Solomon, MD
Director
National Center for Health Marketing
Jay M. Bernhardt, PhD, MPH
Director
Division of Scientific Communications
Maria S. Parker
(Acting) Director
Mary Lou Lindegren, MD
Editor, MMWR Series
Suzanne M. Hewitt, MPA
Managing Editor, MMWR Series
Teresa F. Rutledge
(Acting) Lead Technical Writer-Editor
David C. Johnson
Project Editor
Beverly J. Holland
Lead Visual Information Specialist
Lynda G. Cupell
Malbea A. LaPete
Visual Information Specialists
Quang M. Doan, MBA
Erica R. Shaver
Information Technology Specialists
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 1

Recommended Antimicrobial Agents for the Treatment


and Postexposure Prophylaxis of Pertussis
2005 CDC Guidelines
Prepared by
Tejpratap Tiwari, M.D.
Trudy V. Murphy M. D.
John Moran M.D.
National Immunization Program, CDC

Summary
The recommendations in this report were developed to broaden the spectrum of antimicrobial agents that are available for
treatment and postexposure prophylaxis of pertussis. They include updated information on macrolide agents other than erythro-
mycin (azithromycin and clarithromycin) and their dosing schedule by age group.

Introduction morbidity in the United States. Pertussis is the only disease


for which universal childhood vaccination is recommended
Pertussis is an acute bacterial infection of the respiratory
that has an increasing trend in reported cases in the United
tract that is caused by Bordetella pertussis, a gram-negative
States. The disease is endemic in the United States with epi-
bacterium (Box 1). B. pertussis is a uniquely human pathogen
demic cycles every 34 years. In the early vaccine years during
that is transmitted from an infected person to susceptible per-
19221940, an average annual rate of 150 per 100,000 popu-
sons, primarily through aerosolized droplets of respiratory se-
lation was reported (5,6). After introduction of universal vac-
cretions or by direct contact with respiratory secretions from
cination during the 1940s, the incidence of reported pertussis
the infected person.
declined dramatically to approximately one case per 100,000
population.
Disease Burden During the preceding 3 decades, reports of pertussis steadily
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) increased again in the United States, from a nadir of 1,010
reviewed and approved a standard case definition for pertus- cases in 1976 (3) to 25,827 in 2004 (2004 rate: 8.5 cases per
sis in June 1997 (1,2) (Box 2). The national pertussis surveil- 100,000 population) (7); the number of reported pertussis
lance system is passive and relies on physicians to report cases cases in 2004 was the highest since 1959. Increased awareness
of pertussis to state and local health departments, which then and improved recognition of pertussis among clinicians, greater
report cases of pertussis weekly to the National Notifiable access to and use of laboratory diagnostics (especially exten-
Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS). The reports are trans- sive polymerase chain reaction [PCR] testing), and increased
mitted to CDC through the National Electronic Telecommu- surveillance and reporting of pertussis by public health de-
nications System for Surveillance (NETSS) and contain partments could have contributed to the increase in reported
demographic data and supplemental clinical and epidemio- cases (8). Some of the reported increase might constitute a
logic information for each reported pertussis case. real increase in the incidence of pertussis (9). Although in-
Despite high childhood vaccination coverage levels for per- fants have the highest incidence of pertussis of any age group,
tussis vaccine (3,4), pertussis remains a cause of substantial adolescents and adults account for the majority of reported
cases.

The material in this report originated in the National Immunization Clinical Manifestations
Program, Stephen L. Cochi, MD, Acting Director; and the
Epidemiology and Surveillance Division, Alison C. Mawle, PhD, The incubation period of pertussis averages 710 days
Acting Director. (range: 521 days) (6,10) and has been reported to be as long
Corresponding preparer: Tejpratap Tiwari, National Immunization
Program, CDC, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS E-61, Atlanta, GA as 6 weeks (11,12). Pertussis has an insidious onset with ca-
30333. Telephone: 404-639-8765; Fax: 404-639-8257; Email: tarrhal symptoms (nasal congestion, runny nose, mild sore-
tit2@cdc.gov. throat, mild dry cough, and minimal or no fever) that are
indistinguishable from those of minor respiratory tract infec-
2 MMWR December 9, 2005

BOX 1. Epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention BOX 2. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists case
of pertussis (whooping cough) definition for pertussis
Epidemiology Clinical case: A cough illness lasting >2 weeks with
25,827 cases reported in the United States in 2004, the one of the following: paroxysms of coughing, inspira-
highest number of reported cases since 1959. tory whoop, or posttussive vomiting without other
Approximately 60% of cases are in adolescents (aged apparent cause.
1118 years) and adults (aged >20 years). Laboratory criteria for diagnosis
Transmitted person-to-person through aerosolized drop- Isolation of Bordetella pertussis from clinical specimen
lets from cough or sneeze or by direct contact with se- or
cretions from the respiratory tract of infectious persons. Positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for
Incubation period 521 days; usually 710 days. B. pertussis (as qualified in comments)
Highly contagious; 80% secondary attack rates among Case classification
susceptible persons.
Probable: a case that meets the clinical case defini-
Endemic in the United States; epidemic every 34 years.
tion, is not laboratory confirmed, and is not epidemio-
Clinical findings
Catarrhal period (12 weeks): illness onset insidious logically linked to a laboratory-confirmed case
(coryza, mild fever, and nonproductive cough); infants Confirmed: an acute cough illness of any duration
can have apnea and respiratory distress. that is laboratory confirmed by culture or one that meets
Paroxysmal period (26 weeks): paroxysmal cough, the clinical case definition and is either laboratory con-
inspiratory whoop, posttussive vomiting. firmed by PCR (as qualified in comments) or epidemio-
Convalescent period (>2 weeks): paroxysms gradually logically linked to a laboratory-confirmed case.
decrease in frequency and intensity. Comment
Laboratory testing The clinical case definition is appropriate for endemic
Culture of nasopharyngeal aspirate or Dacron swab or sporadic cases. In outbreak settings, a case might be
for Bordetella pertussis on Regan Lowe or Bordet-Gengou defined as a cough illness lasting >2 weeks.
culture medium. No assay in the United States is validated and standard-
Detection of B. pertussis DNA by polymerase chain ized. Although these PCR assays might meet the state
reaction. and CLIA requirements for analytical and clinical vali-
Not helpful to test contacts without respiratory symptoms. dation, no data is available on interlaboratory valida-
Recommended treatment tion, including clinical sensitivity and specificity. For
Macrolide antibiotic all these reasons and because in general PCR is less spe-
5-day course of azithromycin cific than culture, PCR-positive cases with <14 days du-
7-day course of clarithromycin ration should not be reported as confirmed.
14-day course of erythromycin. Because some studies have documented that direct fluo-
Alternative agent rescent antibody (DFA) testing of nasopharyngeal se-
14-day course of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. cretions has low sensitivity and variable specificity, DFA
Treat persons aged >1 year within 3 weeks of cough testing is not a criteria for laboratory confirmation of a
onset. case for national reporting purposes.
Treat infants aged <1 year within 6 weeks of cough onset. Serologic testing for pertussis is commercially available
Postexposure prophylaxis but is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Ad-
Administer course of antibiotic to close contacts within ministration for diagnostic use and, therefore, generally
3 weeks of exposure, especially in high-risk settings; same should not be used and relied on as a criterion for labo-
doses as in treatment schedule. ratory confirmation for national reporting purposes.
Prevention and surveillance Both probable and confirmed cases should be reported
Vaccinate children aged 6 weeks6 years with diphthe- to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System.
ria, tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine
(DTaP). In 2005, The Advisory Committee on Immu- tions. Some infants can have atypical disease and initially have
nization Practices voted to recommend a single dose of apneic spells and minimal cough or other respiratory symp-
Tetanus Toxoid and Reduced Diphtheria and Acellular toms. The catarrhal stage last approximately 12 weeks. The
Pertussis vaccine (Tdap) for adolescents and adults aged
cough, which is initially intermittent, becomes paroxysmal. A
<65 years.
Report all cases to local and state health departments. typical paroxysm is characterized by a succession of coughs
that follow each other without inspiration. Paroxysms termi-
nate in typical cases with inspiratory whoop and can be fol-
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 3

lowed by posttussive vomiting. Although children are often (ACIP) recommends 5 doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoid
exhausted after a coughing paroxysm, they usually appear rela- and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine at ages 2, 4, 6, 1518
tively well between episodes. Paroxysms of cough usually in- months, and 46 years (29). Childhood vaccination coverage
crease in frequency and severity as the illness progresses and for pertussis vaccines has been at an all-time high (4). How-
usually persist for 26 weeks. Paroxysms can occur more fre- ever, neither vaccination nor natural disease confers complete
quently at night. The illness can be milder and the character- or lifelong protective immunity against pertussis or reinfec-
istic whoop absent in children, adolescents, and adults who tion. Immunity wanes after 510 years from the last pertussis
were previously vaccinated. vaccine dose (3,8,3034). Older children, adolescents, and
Convalescence is gradual and protracted. The severity of adults can become susceptible to pertussis after a complete
illness wanes, paroxysms subside, and the frequency of cough- course of vaccination during childhood.
ing bouts decreases. A nonparoxysmal cough can continue During spring of 2005, two Tetanus Toxoid and Reduced
for 26 weeks or longer. During the recovery period, super- Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis vaccines adsorbed
imposed viral respiratory infections can trigger a recurrence (Tdap) formulated for adolescents and adults were licensed in
of paroxysms. the United States (BOOSTRIX , GlaxoSmithKline
Patients with pertussis often have substantial weight loss Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium and ADACEL, Sanofi Pas-
and sleep disturbance (13). Conditions resulting from the ef- teur, Toronto, Ontario, Canada). ACIP voted to recommend
fects of the pressure generated by severe coughing include a single dose of Tdap for adolescents aged 1118 years in June
pneumothorax, epistaxis, subconjunctival hemorrhage, sub- 2005 and adults aged 1964 years in October 2005.
dural hematoma, hernia, rectal prolapse, urinary incontinence,
and rib fracture (14). Some infections are complicated by pri- Treatment of Pertussis
mary or secondary bacterial pneumonia and otitis media. In-
Maintaining high vaccination coverage rates among pre-
frequent neurologic complications include seizures and hypoxic
school children, adolescents, and adults and minimizing ex-
encephalopathy.
posures of infants and persons at high risk for pertussis is the
Adolescents and adults with unrecognized or untreated per-
most effective way to prevent pertussis. Antibiotic treatment
tussis contribute to the reservoir of B. pertussis in the commu-
of pertussis and judicious use of antimicrobial agents for
nity. Patients with pertussis are most infectious during the
postexposure prophylaxis will eradicate B. pertussis from the
catarrhal stage and during the first 3 weeks after cough onset.
nasopharynx of infected persons (symptomatic or asymptom-
Pertussis is highly infectious; the secondary attack rate exceeds
atic). A macrolide administered early in the course of illness
80% among susceptible persons (15,16). Unvaccinated or
can reduce the duration and severity of symptoms and lessen
incompletely vaccinated infants aged <12 months have the
the period of communicability (35). Approximately 80%90%
highest risk for severe and life-threatening complications and
of patients with untreated pertussis will spontaneously clear
death (5,8,1725).
B. pertussis from the nasopharynx within 34 weeks from on-
set of cough (36); however, untreated and unvaccinated in-
Differential Diagnosis fants can remain culture-positive for >6 weeks (37). Close
The differential diagnoses of pertussis include infections asymptomatic contacts (38) (Box 3) can be administered
caused by other etiologic agents, including adenoviruses, respi- postexposure chemoprophylaxis to prevent secondary cases;
ratory syncytial virus, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia symptomatic contacts should be treated as cases.
pneumoniae, and other Bordetella species such as B. parapertussis, Erythromycin, a macrolide antibiotic, has been the antimi-
and rarely B. bronchoseptica (26) or B. holmseii (27). Despite crobial of choice for treatment or postexposure prophylaxis of
increasing awareness and recognition of pertussis as a disease pertussis. It is usually administered in 4 divided daily doses
that affects adolescents and adults, pertussis is overlooked in for 14 days. Although effective for treatment (Table 1) and
the differential diagnosis of cough illness in this population (28). postexposure prophylaxis (Table 2), erythromycin is accom-
panied by uncomfortable to distressing side effects that result
Prevention in poor adherence to the treatment regimen. During the last
decade, in vitro studies have demonstrated the effectiveness
Vaccination of susceptible persons is the most important
against B. pertussis of two other macrolide agents (azithromycin
preventive strategy against pertussis. Universal childhood per-
and clarithromycin) (5764). Results from in vitro studies
tussis vaccine recommendations have been implemented since
are not always replicated in clinical studies and practice. A
the mid-1940s. For protection against pertussis during child-
literature search and review was conducted for in vivo studies
hood, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
4 MMWR December 9, 2005

BOX 3. Close contacts and postexposure prophylaxis The choice of antimicrobial for treatment or prophylaxis
A close contact of a patient with pertussis is a person should take into account effectiveness, safety (including the
who had face-to-face exposure within 3 feet of a symp- potential for adverse events and drug interactions), tolerabil-
tomatic patient. Respiratory droplets (particles >5 m ity, ease of adherence to the regimen prescribed, and cost.
in size) are generated during coughing, sneezing, or talk- Azithromycin and clarithromycin are as effective as erythro-
ing and during the performance of certain procedures mycin for treatment of pertussis in persons aged >6 months,
such as bronchoscopy or suctioning; these particles can are better tolerated, and are associated with fewer and milder
be propelled through the air for distances of approxi- side effects than erythromycin. Erythromycin and
mately 3 feet. clarithromycin, but not azithromycin, are inhibitors of the
Close contacts also can include persons who
cytochrome P450 enzyme system (CYP3A subclass) and can
have direct contact with respiratory, oral, or nasal
secretions from a symptomatic patient (e.g., interact with other drugs that are metabolized by this system.
cough, sneeze, sharing food and eating utensils, Azithromycin and clarithromycin are more resistant to gastric
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, or performing a acid, achieve higher tissue concentrations, and have a longer
medical examination of the mouth, nose, and half-life than erythromycin, allowing less frequent adminis-
throat) tration (12 doses per day) and shorter treatment regimens
shared the same confined space in close proxim- (57 days). Erythromycin is available as generic preparations
ity with a symptomatic patient for >1 hour and is considerably less expensive than azithromycin and
Some close contacts are at high risk for acquiring clarithromycin.
severe disease following exposure to pertussis. These B. Postexposure prophylaxis. A macrolide can be admin-
contacts include infants aged <1 year, persons with istered as prophylaxis for close contacts of a person with per-
some immunodeficiency conditions, or other un- tussis if the person has no contraindication to its use. The
derlying medical conditions such as chronic lung
decision to administer postexposure chemoprophylaxis is made
disease, respiratory insufficiency, or cystic fibrosis
Postexposure prophylaxis with an appropriate antimi- after considering the infectiousness of the patient and the in-
crobial agent can be administered to close contacts of tensity of the exposure, the potential consequences of severe
patients and to persons who are at high risk for having pertussis in the contact, and possibilities for secondary expo-
severe or complicated pertussis. sure of persons at high risk from the contact (e.g., infants
aged <12 months). For postexposure prophylaxis, the ben-
efits of administering an antimicrobial agent to reduce the
and clinical trials that were conducted during 19702004 and risk for pertussis and its complications should be weighed
used clarithromycin or azithromycin for the treatment and against the potential adverse effects of the drug. Administra-
prophylaxis of pertussis (Table 3). On the basis of this review, tion of postexposure prophylaxis to asymptomatic household
guidelines were developed to broaden the spectrum of mac- contacts within 21 days of onset of cough in the index patient
rolide agents available for pertussis treatment and postexposure can prevent symptomatic infection. Coughing (symptomatic)
prophylaxis and are presented in this report to update previ- household members of a pertussis patient should be treated as
ous CDC recommendations (71). Treatment and postexposure if they have pertussis. Because severe and sometimes fatal
prophylaxis recommendations are made on the basis of exist- pertussis-related complications occur in infants aged <12
ing scientific evidence and theoretical rationale. months, especially among infants aged <4 months,
postexposure prophylaxis should be administered in exposure
settings that include infants aged <12 months or women in
Recommendations
the third trimester of pregnancy. The recommended antimi-
crobial agents and dosing regimens for postexposure prophy-
I. General Principles laxis are the same as those for treatment of pertussis (Table 4).
A. Treatment. The macrolide agents erythromycin, C. Special considerations for infants aged <6 months
clarithromycin, and azithromycin are preferred for the treat- when using macrolides for treatment or postexposure pro-
ment of pertussis in persons aged >1 month. For infants aged phylaxis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
<1 month, azithromycin is preferred; erythromycin and has not licensed any macrolide for use in infants aged <6
clarithromycin are not recommended. For treatment of per- months. Data on the safety and efficacy of azithromycin and
sons aged >2 months, an alternative agent to macrolides is clarithromycin use among infants aged <6 months are limited.
trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMPSMZ) (Table 4). Data from subsets of infants aged 15 months (enrolled in
small clinical studies) suggest similar microbiologic effective-
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 5

TABLE 1. Results from studies that evaluated the effectiveness of erythromycin treatment on reducing symptoms of pertussis
patients
Author Comparison Erythromycin Effect of treatment Vaccination
and year Setting Type of study Case definition groups Sample size treatment on symptoms status
Bass, U.S. Randomized Clinical pertussis Four therapy 10 patients in 50 mg per day, 4 Duration of catarrhal, Two children
1969 (39) and culture- (erythromycin, each group divided doses for paroxysmal, and had 3 doses
positive or direct chloramphenicol, 7 days convalescent stages of DTP (both
fluorescent oxytetracycline, was similar between in oxytetracy-
antibody (DFA)- and ampicillin) and the groups cline group)
positive one untreated
control group
Baraff, U.S. Experimental Cough lasting >1 Those who Seven Estolate: 40 mg/ Mean duration of Not controlled
1978 (40) week and received untreated, kg per day hospitalization was for
cyanosis, vomiting, erythromycin 18 treated (duration not similar in two groups:
or whoop, and versus those who patients reported) 7.3 days in treatment
culture-positive were not treated group versus 8.5 days
(onset not reported) in control group

Bergquist, Sweden Randomized Age >1 year, Same as cases, 17 treated with Ethylsuccinate: Number of whoops Not reported
1987 (41) open suspected untreated erythromycin, 25 mg/kg twice between day 1 and
pertussis evident 21 untreated daily for 10 days 14: 50% reduction in
for <14 days; 25 of controls the treatment group
38 already had (p<0.02) and doubled
whoops in the control group
(p<0.05)

Steketee, U.S. Observational, Respiratory illness Treatment within 1 40 treated <1 Erythromycin 43% (17 of 40) of Few
1988 (42) retrospective, and culture-, DFA-, week versus >1 week, 43 base or early treated patients unvaccinated
cohort or serology- week of any treatment ethylsuccinate: and 19% (eight of 43) residents, not
positive in an respiratory started >1 40 mg/kg per of late treated patients controlled for
institutional setting symptoms in week day orally, did not have cough in the analysis
seropositive divided into 4 (risk ratio = 2.28; 95%
patients or daily doses for confidence interval =
untreated patients 14 days 1.14.5). Duration of
cough longer and a
significantly higher
proportion of severe
symptoms in late
treatment group
Farizo, U.S. Analysis of Cases of pertussis Persons with >700 in each All treated Percentage of those Not controlled
1997 (43) national reported to CDC cases who started group persons with cough of >28 for
surveillance during 19801989 prophylaxis <07 received oral days was lower in the
data days, 814 days, erythromycin group treated <07
and >14 days of therapy for days after cough
onset of cough >10 days onset compared with
compared with untreated group
untreated group (p<0.01). The highest
(controlled for age) percentage of patients
with long cough was
in the group treated
>14 days of cough
onset
Bortolussi, Canada Observational Culture-positive Persons who 189 patients in Dosage and Mean duration of >90% of
1995 (35) prospective, index cases began treatment all ages duration not cough and paroxysms children had 3
household study <1 week of cough reported 38 and 28 days in doses
onset versus >21 early treatment group
days of cough versus 57 and 44
onset days in late treatment
group

Halperin, Canada Prospective, Nasopharyngeal Those who 87 treated for 7 or 14 days of No difference in the Not reported
1997 (44) randomized, aspirate culture- received 7 days of 7 days, 106 erythromycin bacteriologic
controlled, positive erythromycin treated for estolate, 40 mg/ persistence (p=0.98)
clinical trial versus those who 14 days kg per day in 3 or bacteriologic
received 14 days divided doses, relapse (p=0.77)
of erythromycin maximum: 1 g between the 7- and
per day 14-day treatment
groups
6 MMWR December 9, 2005

TABLE 2. Results from studies that evaluated the effectiveness of erythromycin treatment and prophylaxis on reducing spread
of pertussis
Author Treatment of Comparison Erythromycin Effect of prophylaxis Vaccination
and year Setting Type of study Case definition index case groups prophylaxis on secondary spread status
Altemeier, U.S. Case report Index patient: Not treated at Seven neonates 50 mg/kg per None had symptoms (two Not available
1977 (45) culture-positive, the time of exposed to the day of erythro- were culture-positive
hospitalized, exposure index patient mycin intramus- before prophylaxis)
symptomatic before his cularly for 5 days
neonate treatment
Halsey, U.S. Case report Index patient: Erythromycin: One infant Ethylsuccinate Three days after One dose of
1980 (46) culture-positive, 55 mg/kg per exposed to the 55 mg/kg per day erythromycin prophylaxis DTP
hospitalized, day. Infant was index patient for began, contact became
symptomatic still culture- 3 days during symptomatic and culture-
neonate positive at the culture-positive positive. After 8 more days
time of stage of treatment, contact
exposure became culture-negative
Grob, Britain Randomized, Index patient: 29 of 40 index Household 50 mg/kg per Unvaccinated contacts: None of the
1981 (47) placebo- culture-positive; patients treated contacts day, 4 divided 20% (four of 20) treated vaccinated
controlled, secondary case: with erythromy- (31unvacci- doses for 14 versus 18% (two of 11) children had
double blind not specified cin, dosage and nated,60 days. Prophy- untreated contacts had pertussis
duration not vaccinated) laxis began 13 pertussis. Could not
reported prophylaxed or days (8 days) separate effect of
received placebo treatment of index patient
from effect of prophylaxis
Spencely, Britain Randomized Diagnosed 17 patients: Household 125 mg or 250 82% (nine of 11) treated Nine contacts
1981 (48) pertussis; eight received contacts mg 4 times a day and 22% (two of nine) were
secondary case: erythromycin, prophylaxed (11) for 10 days for untreated children had unvaccinated,
respiratory two received or received children aged <2 pertussis. More of five had 2
symptoms of other antibiotics; placebo (nine) years or >2 erythromycin group was doses
more than trivial dosage and years, respec- already experiencing
duration duration not tively symptoms at trial onset
reported
Granstrom, Sweden Retrospective Index patient: 250500 mg for 28 newborns Erythromycin 40 None of the infants had Not available
1987 (49) review of cases pregnant women 3 doses a day prophylaxed with mg/kg per day, 3 symptoms or laboratory
with serology- or for 10 days. erythromycin; times a day; 22 evidence of pertussis
culture-positive Received 3 (3 four did not for 10 days, six
pertussis days) before receive for 5 days. All
delivery mothers nursed
their infants.
Biellik, U.S. Case-control, Acute cough Not reported Households with Erythromycin, Average interval between Similar
1988 (50) household illness >14 days secondary cases dosage and onset of illness in first vaccination
study or >7 days and versus duration not patient and initiation of status
paroxysms or households reported therapy: 24 days
paroxysmal without (households with
cough causing secondary cases secondary cases) versus
sleep disturbance 11 days (households with
on >2 nights no secondary cases)
(p<0.001). Average
interval between onset of
illness in first patient and
initiation of prophylaxis: 23
days (household with
secondary cases) versus
14 days (household with
no secondary cases)
(p<0.02). Similar number
of contacts administered
prophylaxis, number of
contacts and first patients
completed >10 days of
treatment
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 7

TABLE 2. (Continued) Results from studies that evaluated the effectiveness of erythromycin treatment and prophylaxis on
reducing spread of pertussis
Author Treatment of Comparison Erythromycin Effect of prophylaxis Vaccination
and year Setting Type of study Case definition index case groups prophylaxis on secondary spread status
Steketee, U.S. Observational, Respiratory Erythromycin Wards whose Same as Attack rates in wards Few
1988 (42) retrospective illness and base or residents treatment for all prophylaxed early: 16% (13 unvaccinated
cohort culture-, direct ethylsuccinate: prophylaxed residents of of 125 residents) versus residents; in
fluorescent 40 mg/kg per within <2 weeks exposed wards 75% late (85 of 113) the analysis,
antibody (DFA)- day orally, of cough onset vaccination
or serology- divided into 4 of first case status not
positive in an daily doses for versus wards controlled for
institutional 14 days prophylaxed
setting within 4 weeks of
first case
Sprauer, U.S. Observational, Culture-positive, Received 5 Households (17) >10 days of More first patients in Vaccination
1988 (51) retrospective >14 days cough days of with secondary erythromycin households with no status similar
cohort or paroxysmal continuous cases versus after exposure secondary transmission between
cough of >7 days.; erythromycin, households (20) received treatment (100% groups
secondary case: dosage not without versus 76%) (p<0.05).
onset 728 days reported secondary cases Median interval to
after first case treatment of first patient: 11
days in households with no
secondary cases, 21 days
in households with
secondary cases
(p = 0.057). Percentage of
contacts receiving
prophylaxis <3 weeks of
first patient: 97% in
households with no
secondary cases, 47% in
households with secondary
cases (p<0.001). Median
interval from first patients to
prophylaxis: 16 days in
households with no
secondary cases, 22 days
in households with
secondary cases (p<0.001)

Fisher, U.S. Observational Culture-, DFA-, Erythromycin, None. Results Erythromycin, 14 Administration of erythromy-
1989 (52) or serology- 14 days from culture days cin to all residents
positive specimens taken eliminated culture-positive
on three cases and stopped the
occasions (0 and spread of infection. No
18 days and 2 resident had a positive
months later) culture or DFA test result at
were compared the end of 14 days of
treatment or 2 months later
Wirsing Germany Household Primary case: 21- Erythromycin, Household Erythromycin, Attack rate in child contacts Not reported
von study, nested in day paroxysmal dosage and contacts whose dosage and (647 months, unvacci- for contacts
Konig, a vaccine cough and duration not index patients duration not nated) of treated first
1995 (53) efficacy trial laboratory reported have been reported patients: 51% (55 of 109)
(culture, treated (265) or versus untreated first
serology) not treated (151) patients: 64% (41 of 64)
confirmation; (p>0.05). Attack rate in
secondary case: adult contacts of treated
>7-day first patients: 20% (31 of
paroxysmal 156) versus untreated first
cough and patients: 36% (31 of 87)
laboratory (p<0.05)
confirmation,
onset >7 days
after primary
case
8 MMWR December 9, 2005

TABLE 2. (Continued) Results from studies that evaluated the effectiveness of erythromycin treatment and prophylaxis on
reducing spread of pertussis
Author Treatment of Comparison Erythromycin Effect of prophylaxis Vaccination
and year Setting Type of study Case definition index case groups prophylaxis on secondary spread status
DeSerres, Canada Retrospective Primary case: Not reported Contacts (940) in Varied. Adults: Secondary attack rate: Vaccination
1995 (54) cohort, culture-positive or households with 250500 mg 3 households with status was not
household CDC case prophylaxis times a day; prophylaxis: 17%; a factor in
study definition; versus those children 4050 households without secondary AR
secondary case: without mg/kg per day for prophylaxis: 25% (risk ratio
>2 weeks cough prophylaxis 1014 days = 0.69; 95% confidence
interval = 0.50.9).
Secondary attack rate:
prophylaxis used before
onset of secondary case:
4% versus 35% after
secondary case (p<0.001).
Compared with secondary
attack rates among
households prophylaxed
within 21 days, secondary
attack rates doubled when
prophylaxis was
administered >21 days
after onset of cough in the
primary patient or not
administered at all

Schmitt, Germany Blinded, Index case: >21 Erythromycin, Unvaccinated Erythromycin, Attack rates in unvacci- 67% of
1996 (55) prospective day spasmodic dosage not contacts whose dosage and nated household contacts unvaccinated
follow-up of cough and reported index patients duration not whose index patients have contacts
household culture- or have been reported been treated: 51% versus received
contacts serology-positive; treated versus 64% in index patient not prophylaxis
secondary case: those not treated treated (p=0.08)
onset 728 days
after onset of
cough in the first
patient

Halperin, Canada Randomized, a) culture- Erythromycin Household 10 days of Fewer posttussive Not reported
1999 (56) double-blind, positive, b) for 7 or 14 days contacts of erythromycin vomiting or whoop in the
placebo culture-positive or randomly estolate, 40 mg/ erythromycin treatment
controlled paroxysmal selected culture- kg per day in 3 group; respiratory
cough of >2 confirmed cases. divided doses; symptoms, nasal
weeks, or c) Contacts were maximum: 1 g congestion, cough, or
culture-positive or administered per day paroxysmal cough similar
cough >2 weeks placebo in both groups. Efficacy in
and whoop, preventing culture-positive
paroxysm, pertussis was 67.5% (95%
vomiting, apnea, confidence interval =
or cyanosis 7.6%88.7%). No
significant difference in
secondary attack rates
when only contacts who
were asymptomatic before
prophylaxis were
examined
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 9

TABLE 3. Results from studies that evaluated the effectiveness of azithromycin or clarithromycin for treatment of pertussis
patients
Microbiologic eradication
Author Participants Comparison Sample rate at end of treatment Vaccination
and year Setting Type of study (positive cultures) treatment groups size and follow-up status

Ayoma, Japan Prospective, Cases matched with 10 mg/kg per day twice Azithromycin 100% at 1 week post- Five unvaccinated
1996 (65) randomized historical erythromycin daily for 5 days N=8 treatment for azithromycin children aged <1
during June group by age, sex, (maximum: 500 mg) and 81% in erythromycin year
1993March vaccination status, and group; no relapse at 2 weeks
1995 recent onset of disease in both groups
before June 1993

Age <2 years (10 of Clarithromycin N=9 100% at 1 week post Six unvaccinated
17) 2 13 years (seven 10 mg/kg once daily treatment for clarithromycin children aged <1
of 17) (maximum: 400 mg) for and 89% in erythromycin year
7 days group; no relapse at 2 weeks
Mean duration of in both groups
illness Historical control group: N = 34
Azithromycin = 14.1 Erythromycin 4050
(+3 days) mg per day three times
Clarithromycin = 11.8 daily for 14 days
(+7.2 days)
Erythromycin = 11.2
(+7.1 days)
Bace, Croatia Prospective, Age 118 months Azithromycin: N = 17 100% at days 7, 14, and 21 Not reported
1999 (66) open (Mean: 7.5 months) 10 mg/kg once daily on from start of treatment
day 1 then 5 mg/kg
Noncomparative Duration of illness: 3 once daily for 4 days
to assess 30 days (mean: 12.5
efficacy and days) Azithromycin N = 20 89.5%, 100%, and 7.1 % at
safety of two 10 mg/kg once daily for days 7, 14, 21 from start of
azithromycin 3 days treatment
regimens
Bace, Croatia Prospective, Age 115 months Azithromycin A=9 100% at days 7, 14, and 21 in Groups similar
2000 (67) open, 10 mg/kg once daily for all groups
randomized, Duration of illness: 2 3 days
comparative 37 days
Erythromycin for 14 E = 15 Not reported
days
Langley, Canada Prospective, Age 6 months16 Azithromycin N = 58 100% at end of treatment and Groups similar
2004 (68) open, years 10 mg/kg once on day 7 days after completion in
multicenter, 1 then 5mg/kg once both groups for participants
comparative daily for 4 days with available cultures

Erythromycin estolate N = 56 Not reported


40 mg/kg per day three
times daily for 10 days
Lebel and Canada Prospective, Age 1 month16 years Clarithromycin N = 76 100% for clarithromycin group 89% vaccinated in
Mehra, single-blind, 15 mg/kg per day twice and 96% for erythromycin clarithromycin
2001 (69) parallel group per day for 7 days group at end of treatment group and 90% for
trial erythromycin
Erythromycin N = 77
40 mg/kg per day three
times daily for 14 days
Pichichero, U.S. Prospective, Age 6 months20 Azithromycin 10 mg/kg N = 29 100% at days 3 and 21 from Not reported
2003 (70) open label, years once on day 1 then start of treatment
noncomparative 5mg/kg once daily for 4
days
10 MMWR December 9, 2005

TABLE 4. Recommended antimicrobial treatment and postexposure prophylaxis for pertussis, by age group
Primary agents Alternate agent*
Age group Azithromycin Erythromycin Clarithromycin TMP-SMZ
<1 month Recommended agent. 10 mg/ Not preferred. Erythromycin is Not recommended (safety Contraindicated for infants
kg per day in a single dose for associated with infantile data unavailable) aged <2 months (risk for
5 days (only limited safety hypertrophic pyloric stenosis. kernicterus)
data available.) Use if azithromycin is
unavailable; 4050 mg/kg per
day in 4 divided doses for 14
days

15 months 10 mg/kg per day in a single 4050 mg/kg per day in 4 15 mg/kg per day in 2 divided Contraindicated at age <2
dose for 5 days divided doses for 14 days doses for 7 days months. For infants aged >2
months, TMP 8 mg/kg per
day, SMZ 40 mg/kg per day in
2 divided doses for 14 days

Infants (aged >6 months) 10 mg/kg in a single dose on 4050 mg/kg per day 15 mg/kg per day in 2 divided TMP 8 mg/kg per day, SMZ
and children day 1 then 5 mg/kg per day (maximum: 2 g per day) in 4 doses (maximum: 1 g per 40 mg/kg per day in 2 divided
(maximum: 500 mg) on days divided doses for 14 days day) for 7 days doses for 14 days
25

Adults 500 mg in a single dose on 2 g per day in 4 divided doses 1 g per day in 2 divided doses TMP 320 mg per day, SMZ
day 1 then 250 mg per day on for 14 days for 7 days 1,600 mg per day in 2 divided
days 25 doses for 14 days

* Trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole (TMPSMZ) can be used as an alternative agent to macrolides in patients aged >2 months who are allergic to macrolides,
who cannot tolerate macrolides, or who are infected with a rare macrolide-resistant strain of Bordetella pertussis.

ness of azithromycin and clarithromycin against pertussis as Fundamental Reference. A macrolide is contraindicated if there
with older infants and children. If not treated, infants with is history of hypersensitivity to any macrolide agent (Table 5).
pertussis remain culture-positive for longer periods than older Neither erythromycin nor clarithromycin should be adminis-
children and adults (36,72). These limited data support the tered concomitantly with astemizole, cisapride, pimazole, or
use of azithromycin and clarithromycin as first-line agents terfenadine. The most commonly reported side effects of oral
among infants aged 15 months, based on their in vitro effec- macrolides are gastrointestinal (e.g., nausea, vomiting, abdomi-
tiveness against B. pertussis, their demonstrated safety and ef- nal pain and cramps, diarrhea, and anorexia) and rashes; side
fectiveness in older children and adults, and more convenient effects are more frequent and severe with erythromycin use.
dosing schedule.
For treatment of pertussis among infants aged <1 month II. Specific Antimicrobial Agents
(neonates), no data are available on the effectiveness of
1. Azithromycin. Azithromycin is available in the United
azithromycin and clarithromycin. Abstracts and published case
States for oral administration as azithromycin dihydrate (sus-
series describing use of azithromycin among infants aged <1
pension, tablets, and capsules). It is administered as a single
month report fewer adverse events compared with erythro-
daily dose.
mycin (73); to date, use of azithromycin in infants aged <1
Recommended regimen:
month has not been associated with infantile hypertrophic
Infants aged <6 months: 10 mg/kg per day for 5 days.
pyloric stenosis (IHPS). Therefore, for pertussis, azithromycin
Infants and children aged >6 months: 10 mg/kg (maxi-
is the preferred macrolide for postexposure prophylaxis and
mum: 500 mg) on day 1, followed by 5 mg/kg per day
treatment of infants aged <1 month. In this age group, the
(maximum: 250 mg) on days 25.
risk for acquiring severe pertussis and its life-threatening com-
Adults: 500 mg on day 1, followed by 250 mg per day on
plications outweigh the potential risk for IHPS that has been
days 25.
associated with erythromycin (74). Infants aged <1 month
Side effects include abdominal discomfort or pain, diar-
who receive a macrolide should be monitored for IHPS and
rhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness.
other serious adverse events.
Azithromycin should be prescribed with caution to pa-
D. Safety. A comprehensive description of the safety of the
tients with impaired hepatic function. All patients should
recommended antimicrobials is available in the package in-
be cautioned not to take azithromycin and aluminum- or
sert, or in the latest edition of the Red Book: Pharmacys
magnesium-containing antacids simultaneously because
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 11

TABLE 5. Preparation and adverse events of antimicrobial agents used for treatment and postexposure prophylaxis of pertussis
Major adverse events
Indicating need for medical
Indicating need for attention if persistent
Drug Preparation medical attention or bothersome Special instructions

Azithromycin Oral suspension: Rare: Gastrointestinal disturbances Administer 1 hour before or 2


20 mg/mL Acute interstitial nephritis (abdominal discomfort or pain, hours after a meal; do not use
40 mg/mL diarrhea, (nausea, and with aluminum- or magne-
Hypersensitivity/anaphylaxis vomiting) sium-containing antacids
Capsules: (dyspnea, hives, and rash)
250 mg, 600 mg Headache, dizziness Use with caution in patients
Pseudomembranous colitis with impaired hepatic function

Potential drug interactions

Clarithromycin Oral suspension: Rare: Frequent: Dose should be adjusted for


25 mg/mL, 50 mg/mL Hepatotoxicity Gastrointestinal disturbances patients with impaired renal
(abdominal discomfort or pain, function
Tablets: Hypersensitivity reaction diarrhea, (nausea, and
250 mg, 500 mg (rash, pruritis, and dyspnea) vomiting) Can be administered without
regard to meals
Pseudomembranous colitis Infrequent:
Abnormal taste sensation Reconstituted suspensions
Thrombocytopenia should not be refrigerated
Headache
Potential drug reactions

Erythromycin Oral suspension Hypersensitivity/anaphylaxis Frequent: Dose should be adjusted for


and tablets (many prepara- (dyspnea, hives, rash) Gastrointestinal disturbances patients with impaired renal
tion strengths) (anorexia, nausea, vomiting, function
Rare: and diarrhea)
Hepatic dysfunction Potential drug reactions

Infantile hypertrophic pyloric


stenosis in neonates aged <I
month

Torsade de pointes

Pseudomembranous colitis

Trimethoprim- Oral suspension: More frequent: Gastrointestinal disturbances Dose should be adjusted for
sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMZ) TMP 8 mg/mL and SMZ Skin rash (anorexia, nausea, vomiting, patients with impaired renal
40mg/ mL and diarrhea function
Less frequent:
Tablets: Hypersensitivity reactions Maintain adequate fluid intake
Single Strength (skin rash, and fever) to prevent crystaluria and
Hematologic toxicity stone formation (take with full
TMP 80 mg and SMZ 400 mg (leucopenia, neutropenia, glass of water)
thrombocytopenia, and
Double Strength: anemia) Potential for photosensitivity
TMP 160 mg skin reaction with sun
SMZ 800 mg Rare: exposure
Exfoliative skin disorders
(including Stevens-Johnsons
syndrome), Hemolytic anemia
(with G6-PD deficiency)
Methhemoglobinemia
Renal toxicity (crystaluria,
nephritis, and tubular
necrosis)
Central nervous system
toxicity (aseptic meningitis)
Pseudomembranous colitis
Cholestatic hepatitis
Thyroid function disturbance
12 MMWR December 9, 2005

the latter reduces the rate of absorption of azithromycin. The high case-fatality ratio of pertussis in neonates under-
Monitoring of patients is advised when azithromycin is scores the importance of preventing pertussis among exposed
used concomitantly with agents metabolized by the cyto- infants. Health-care providers who prescribe erythromycin
chrome P450 enzyme system and with other drugs for rather than azithromycin to newborns should inform parents
which the pharmacokinetics change (e.g., digoxin, about the possible risks for IHPS and counsel them about
triazolam, and ergot alkaloids). Drug interactions reac- signs of IHPS.
tions similar to those observed for erythromycin and Erythromycin is contraindicated if there is history of hy-
clarithromycin have not been reported. Azithromycin is persensitivity to any macrolide agent. Erythromycin should
classified as an FDA Pregnancy Category B drug (75). not be administered concomitantly with astemizole, cisapride,
2. Erythromycin. Erythromycin is available in the United pimazole, or terfenadine. Rare cases of serious cardiovascular
States for oral administration as erythromycin base (tab- adverse events, including electrocardiographic QT/QTc in-
lets and capsules), erythromycin stearate (tablets), and terval prolongation, cardiac arrest, torsades de pointes, and
erythromycin ethylsuccinate (tablets, powders, and liq- other ventricular arrhythmias, have been observed after con-
uids). Because relapses have been reported after comple- comitant use of erythromycin with these drugs.
tion of 710 days of treatment with erythromycin, a Erythromycin is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P450 en-
14-day course of erythromycin is recommended for treat- zyme system (CYP3A subclass). Coadministration of eryth-
ment of patients with pertussis or for postexposure pro- romycin and a drug that is primarily metabolized by CYP3A
phylaxis of close contacts of pertussis patients (76). can result in elevations in drug concentrations that could in-
Recommended regimen: crease or prolong both the therapeutic and adverse effects of
Infants aged <1 month: not preferred because of risk for the concomitant drug. Drugs that are metabolized by CYP3A
IHPS. Azithromycin is the recommended antimicrobial include alfentanil, bromocriptine, cyclosporine,
agent. If azithromycin is unavailable and erythromycin is carbamazepine, cilostazol, disopyramide, dihydroergotamine,
used, the dose is 4050 mg/kg per day in 4 divided doses. ergotamine, lovastatin and simvastatin, methylprednisolone,
These infants should be monitored for IHPS. quinidine, rifabutin, vinblastine, tacrolimus, triazolo-benzo-
Infants aged >1 month and older children: 4050 mg/kg diazepines (e.g., triazolam and alprazolam) and related ben-
per day (maximum: 2 g per day) in 4 divided doses for 14 zodiazepines, and sildenafil. In addition, reports exists of drug
days. interactions of erythromycin with drugs not thought to be
Adults: 2 g per day in 4 divided doses for 14 days metabolized by CYP3A, including zidovudine, hexobarbital,
Gastrointestinal irritation, including epigastric distress, ab- phenytoin, and valproate, theophylline, digoxin, and oral an-
dominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, are the most ticoagulants.
common adverse effects associated with oral administration Erythromycin is classified as an FDA Pregnancy Category
of erythromycin. Symptoms are dose-related. Some formula- B drug (76). Animal reproduction studies have failed to dem-
tions with enteric-coated tablets and the ester derivatives (e.g., onstrate a risk to the fetus, but no adequate or well-controlled
ethylsuccinate) can be taken with food to minimize these side studies in humans exist.
effects. Hypersensitivity reactions (e.g., skin rashes, drug fe- 3. Clarithromycin. Clarithromycin is available in the United
ver, or eosinophilia), cholestatic hepatitis, and sensorineural States for oral administration as granules for oral suspen-
hearing loss have occurred after administration of macrolides; sion and tablets.
severe reactions such as anaphylaxis are rare. Recommended regimen:
An increased risk for IHPS has been reported in neonates Infants aged <1 month: not recommended.
during the month after erythromycin administration. In one Infants and children aged >1 month: 15 mg/kg per day
case, pyloric stenosis occurred in a breastfeeding infant whose (maximum: 1 g per day) in 2 divided doses each day for 7
mother took erythromycin. In 1999, a cluster of seven cases days.
of IHPS were reported among neonates (all aged <3 weeks Adults: 1 g per day in two divided doses for 7 days.
when prophylaxis was started) who had taken erythromycin The most common adverse effects associated with
after exposure to a pertussis patient. In a cohort study, eryth- clarithromycin include epigastric distress, abdominal cramps,
romycin prophylaxis was causally associated with IHPS (seven nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Hypersensitivity reactions
cases out of 157 erythromycin exposed infants versus zero cases (e.g., skin rashes, drug fever, or eosinophilia), hepatotoxicity,
out of 125 infants with no erythromycin exposure (relative and severe reactions such as anaphylaxis are rare. Because of
risk: infinity [95% confidence interval = 1.7infinity]). its similarity to erythromycin, both chemically and metaboli-
Vol. 54 / RR-14 Recommendations and Reports 13

cally, clarithromycin should not be administered to infants antidiabetic agents, thiazide diuretics, anticonvulsants, and
aged <1 month because it is unknown if the drug can be simi- other antiretroviral drugs. TMPSMZ is classified by FDA as
larly associated with IHPS. The drug is contraindicated if there a Pregnancy Category C drug (76). Animal reproduction
is history of hypersensitivity to any macrolide agent. Similar studies have indicated an adverse effect on the fetus; no ad-
to erythromycin, clarithromycin should not be administered equate or well-controlled studies in humans exist.
concomitantly with astemizole, cisapride, pimazole, or 5. Other antimicrobial agents. Although in vitro activity
terfenadine. Clarithromycin inhibits the cytochrome P450 against B. pertussis has been demonstrated for other macrolides
enzyme system (CYP3A subclass), and coadministration of such as roxithromycin and ketolides (e.g., telithromycin) (60),
clarithromycin and a drug that is primarily metabolized by no published data exist on the clinical effectiveness of these
CYP3A can result in elevations in drug concentrations that agents.
could increase or prolong both the therapeutic and adverse Other antimicrobial agents such as ampicillin, amoxicillin,
effects of the concomitant drug. Clarithromycin can be ad- tetracycline, chloramphenicol, fluoroquinolones (e.g.,
ministered without dosage adjustment in patients with im- ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, ofloxacin, moxifloxacin), and
paired hepatic function and normal renal function; however, cephalosporins exhibit various levels of in vitro inhibitory ac-
drug dosage and interval between doses should be reassessed tivity against B. pertussis, but in vitro inhibitory activity does
in the presence of impaired renal function. Clarithromycin is not predict clinical effectiveness. The clinical effectiveness of
classified by FDA as a Pregnancy Category C drug (76). Ani- these agents for treatment of pertussis has not been demon-
mal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the strated. For example, both ampicillin and amoxicillin were
fetus; no adequate or well-controlled studies in humans exist. ineffective in clearing B. pertussis from nasopharynx (80). Poor
4. Alternate agent (TMPSMZ). Data from clinical stud- penetration into respiratory secretions was proposed as a pos-
ies indicate that TMPSMZ is effective in eradicating B. per- sible mechanism for failure to clear B. pertussis from the na-
tussis from the nasopharynx (64,77,78). TMPSMZ is used sopharynx (81). The minimum inhibitory concentration of
as an alternative to a macrolide antibiotic in patients aged >2 B. pertussis to the cephalosporins is unacceptably high (82).
months who have contraindication to or cannot tolerate mac- In addition, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol, and
rolide agents, or who are infected with a macrolide-resistant fluoroquinolones have potentially harmful side effects in chil-
strain of B. pertussis. Macrolide-resistant B. pertussis is rare. dren. Therefore, none of the above antimicrobial agents are
Because of the potential risk for kernicterus among infants, recommended for treatment or postexposure prophylaxis of
TMPSMZ should not be administered to pregnant women, pertussis.
nursing mothers, or infants aged <2 months.
Recommended regimen (79): Acknowledgements
Infants aged <2 months: contraindicated. These guidelines were developed by CDC in consultation with
Infants aged >2 months and children: trimethoprim 8 the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of
mg/kg per day, sulfamethoxazole 40 mg/kg per day in 2 Family Physicians (AAFP), and by the Healthcare Infection Control
divided doses for 14 days. Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). The authors would like
to thank Steve Gordon, M.D., Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Nalini
Adults: trimethoprim 320 mg per day, sulfamethoxazole
Singh, M.D., HICPAC, Richard Clover M.D. (AAFP), Dalya Guris
1,600 mg per day in 2 divided doses for 14 days.
M.D., National Immunization Program, CDC, and the CDC
Patients receiving TMP-SMZ might experience gastrointes- Pertussis Team for contributing to this report.
tinal adverse effects, hypersensitivity skin reactions, and rarely,
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16 MMWR December 9, 2005

Members of the CDC Pertussis Team


Karen Broder, MD, Margaret Cortese, MD Amanda Cohn, MD, Katrina Kretsinger, MD, Barbara Slade, M.D., Kristin Brown, MPH, Christina Mijalski,
MPH, Kashif Iqbal, MPH, Pamela Srivastava, MPH.
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