Review of the evidence for the use of erythromycin in the management of persons exposed to pertussis

H. Dodhia, E. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    34 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We assessed the quality of evidence for the use of erythromycin in preventing secondary transmission of pertussis to close contacts of primary cases. A literature search was undertaken and identified papers were reviewed critically. Thirteen original papers and 1 manuscript met the inclusion criteria for review (3 randomized controlled trials, 4 analytical studies and 7 descriptive studies). Evidence from both experimental and analytical studies showed little effect of the use of erythromycin in preventing secondary transmission. Its effect is at best modest when compared with the protection conferred by use of good quality whole cell vaccine. Three studies reported adverse events with erythromycin prophylaxis; these were mainly nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In countries where effective pertussis vaccines are in use, erythromycin use should be confined to close contacts of cases, particularly unimmunized children or partially immunized infants who would be most susceptible to the complications of pertussis, or adults who come into close contact with vulnerable children.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-149
    Number of pages7
    JournalEpidemiology and Infection
    Volume120
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 1998

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