Objective: To provide an updated overview of critical pertussis to the pediatric critical care community and describe a study of critical pertussis recently undertaken.
Setting: The six sites, seven hospitals of the Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network, and 17 outside sites at academic medical centers with pediatric intensive care units.
Results: Despite high coverage for childhood vaccination, pertussis causes substantial morbidity and mortality in US children, especially among infants. In pediatric intensive care units, Bordetella pertussis is a community-acquired pathogen associated with critical illness and death. The incidence of medical and developmental sequelae in critical pertussis survivors remains unknown, and the appropriate strategies for treatment and support remain unclear. The Collaborative Pediatric Critical Care Research Network Critical Pertussis Study has begun to evaluate critical pertussis in a prospective cohort.
Conclusion: Research is urgently needed to provide an evidence base that might optimize management for critical pertussis, a serious, disabling, and too often fatal illness for U.S. children and those in the developing world.