Pertussis awareness among internists and family practice physicians in the state of Michigan in the USA
28 October 2006
04 January 2007
28 July 2015 (online)
Over the past two decades, reports of pertussis have increased considerably in the United States of America (USA) in people of all ages. The most striking increases have taken place among adolescents and adults. The aim of this study is to evaluate pertussis awareness among internists and family practice physicians in the state of Michigan in the USA. This study consists of a survey of internists and family practice physicians in the state of Michigan. The survey instrument is a questionnaire containing one clinical vignette that presents an adult who has prolonged afebrile cough and normal physical examination, followed by three multiple-choice questions. The first question was about the differential diagnosis; pertussis was included among the choices in this question. The other two questions were about antibiotic prescribing for the patient as well as the family members. Out of 500 physicians, 148 (30%) responded to our survey. Fifty-five physicians (37.2%) included pertussis among their differential diagnosis. Only seven (4.7%) selected pertussis as a single diagnosis. Among the physicians who selected pertussis, 49 (89%) prescribed antibiotics to the patient and forty-seven (85%) prescribed antibiotics to the family members. This study demonstrates that two out of three (or 63%) of internists and family practice physicians in the state of Michigan in the USA who responded to our survey overlooked the diagnosis of pertussis in adults. Though the number of the physicians who responded to this survey was relatively small, still it is an important finding and it merits more studies to shed the light on this imperative issue. It is important for the clinicians who treat adults to be aware of the resurgence of pertussis, to be familiar with its diagnosis and treatment, and to understand the options for prevention.