Pertussis Spread by Coughs & Sneezes as Well as from Touchpoints

Pertussis causes a serious coughing illness.

Pertussis is a highly contagious infection of the lungs spread by droplet transmission from aerosols created by coughing and sneezing. Also known as whooping cough, schools are reporting confirmed cases of pertussis.


Pottawatomie County Experiencing Whooping Cough

The Canadian Public Health Agency provides these excellent notes on controlling transmission via drugs and disinfectants:

SUSCEPTIBILITY/RESISTANCE, DRUGS: Susceptible to erythromycin, macrolides such as azithromycin and clarithromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, floroquinoles such as ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, and gemifloxacin.

DRUG RESISTANCE: Erythromycin resistant strains have been reported since 1994, but the resistance does not seem to be spreading.

SUSCEPTIBILITY/RESISTANCE TO DISINFECTANTS: B. pertussis has been shown to be sensitive to glutaraldehyde. In addition most vegetative bacteria are susceptible to low concentrations of chlorine (<1ppm), 70% ethanol, phenolics such as orthophenylphenol and ortho-benzyl-paua-chlorophenol, and peracetic acid (0.001% to 0.2%).

PHYSICAL INACTIVATION:Information specific to B. pertussis is not available; however, most vegetative bacteria can be inactivated by moist heat (121°C for 15 min- 30 min) and dry heat (160-170°C for 1-2 hours).

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST:Survives for 3-5 days on inanimate dry surfaces.

B. pertussis can also survive 5 days on clothes, 2 days on paper and 6 days on glass.

Cleaning Best Practices

Because B. pertussis, the bacteria that causes whooping cough, is spread by droplets and lives for long periods on inanimate surfaces, paper, clothes and other objects, containment should include a program of treatment for touch points (fomites) with a product of proven efficacy such as Dispatch/Clorox Professional Healthcare Germicidal Cleaners.

Product protocols and efficacy sheet