Epidemiology and Infection

An outbreak of pertussis among young Israeli soldiers

E. KLEMENT a1c1, L. ULIEL a1, I. ENGEL a1, T. HASIN a1, M. YAVZORI a1, N. ORR a1a2, N. DAVIDOVITZ a1, N. LAHAT a4a5, I. SRUGO a3a5, E. ZANGVIL a1 and D. COHEN a1a2
a1 Center for Vaccine Development and Evaluation, Medical Corps, Israel Defense Force. M.P. 02149, Israel
a2 Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
a3 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Bnai Zion Hospital, Haifa, Israel
a4 Serology Laboratory, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel
a5 Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel

Article author query
klement e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
uliel l   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
engel i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hasin t   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
yavzori m   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
orr n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
davidovitz n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
lahat n   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
srugo i   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
zangvil e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
cohen d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


In winter 2001, an outbreak of pertussis involving an estimated 75 people occurred among soldiers serving in an infantry regiment of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from patients and contacts for culture and PCR. Serum samples were obtained and assayed by ELISA for the presence of IgA, IgM and IgG antibodies to a lysate antigen of Bordetella pertussis. The calculated attack rate was 21% based on clinical signs alone (cough lasting 30 days or longer) and 9·5% based on clinical signs with laboratory confirmation (by PCR, IgA or IgM). A high carriage rate was observed; 20% of the asymptomatic and previously symptomatic subjects were PCR-positive for B. pertussis. These findings emphasize the importance of B. pertussis as a causative agent of epidemic respiratory infections in young adults and reveal the occurrence of a significant proportion of pertussis transient carriers during an outbreak of the disease.

(Accepted May 30 2003)

c1 Author for correspondence.