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Pertussis Differential Diagnoses

  • Author: Joseph J Bocka, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
 
Updated: Jun 07, 2016
 
 

Diagnostic Considerations

Illnesses that mimic clinical pertussis include the following:

  • Adenoviral respiratory infection - Children present with fever, sore throat, and conjunctivitis
  • Mycoplasmal pneumonia - Patients with mycoplasmal infections have more pronounced systemic symptoms, fever and headache may occur, and rales may be appreciated on chest auscultation
  • Chlamydial pneumonia - Young infants with chlamydial infections present with staccato cough, purulent conjunctival discharge, tachypnea, rales, and wheezing
  • Respiratory syncytial virus infection - Patients present with predominantly lower respiratory tract signs (eg, wheezing, rales)

Other conditions to consider in the differential diagnosis of pertussis include the following:

  • Common cold
  • Influenza
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Interstitial pneumonitis
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Croup (Laryngotracheobronchitis)
  • Dehydration
  • Febrile Seizures
  • Fever
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Intussusception
  • Tachycardia
  • Aspiration pneumonia
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Viral pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis

Differential Diagnoses

 
 
Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Joseph J Bocka, MD Attending Emergency Physician, OhioHealth MedCentral Health System; Emergency Medical Service Medical Director, Multiple EMS Service; Ohio EMS RPAB Region Chair

Joseph J Bocka, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa, American College of Emergency Physicians, American Medical Association, National Association of EMS Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Coauthor(s)

Bryon K McNeil, MD Medical Director, Bioterrorism and Emergency Preparedness, Clinical Assistant Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Via Christ Regional Medical Center

Bryon K McNeil, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Emergency Medicine, Pennsylvania Medical Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Stephen C Aronoff, MD Waldo E Nelson Chair and Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Temple University School of Medicine

Stephen C Aronoff, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Russell W Steele, MD Clinical Professor, Tulane University School of Medicine; Staff Physician, Ochsner Clinic Foundation

Russell W Steele, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Immunologists, American Pediatric Society, American Society for Microbiology, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Louisiana State Medical Society, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, Society for Pediatric Research, Southern Medical Association

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, MD Consulting Staff, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Emergency Medicine, Nemours Children's Clinic, AI duPont Hospital for Children

Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Gary J Noel, MD Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Weill Cornell Medical College; Attending Pediatrician, New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Gary J Noel, MD is a member of the following medical societies: Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mark R Schleiss, MD American Legion Chair of Pediatrics, Professor of Pediatrics, Division Director, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota Medical School

Mark R Schleiss, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Pediatric Society, Infectious Diseases Society of America, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, and Society for Pediatric Research

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Garry Wilkes MBBS, FACEM, Director of Emergency Medicine, Calvary Hospital, Canberra, ACT; Adjunct Associate Professor, Edith Cowan University; Clinical Associate Professor, Rural Clinical School, University of Western Australia

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Mary L Windle, PharmD Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Grace M Young, MD Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland Medical Center

Grace M Young, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics and American College of Emergency Physicians

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

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A photomicrograph of the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, using Gram stain technique.
 
 
 
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