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Whooping cough alert study receives RCGP's research paper award

RCGP (The Royal College Of General Practitioners) : 04 June, 2007  (New Product)
A study that urged GPs to be alert to the signs of whooping cough in school age children has received the 2006 Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP)/Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Research Paper of the Year Award.
The authors will be presented with a cheque for 1000 at the RCGP on 6 June 2007.

Led by Dr Anthony Harnden FRCGP, a GP and lecturer at Oxford University, the study took blood samples from 172 children aged five to 16 years in the Oxfordshire area who had previously presented to their GP with a persistent cough lasting 14 days or more.

The study found that of these 172 participants, 64 had evidence of a recent Bordetella pertussis infection, the bacterium that causes whooping cough.

85.9 percent of these (55n) had been fully immunised against whooping cough, although immunisation or infection do not guarantee lifelong immunity.

The authors of the study noted that whooping cough is often an infection commonly associated with very young children presenting with the trademark 'whoop'.

They concluded that GPs should consider diagnosing more school age children presenting with a cough lasting more than two weeks as whooping cough sufferers.

Although there is little evidence of the efficacy of prescribing drugs for whooping cough after the infection has been contracted two weeks previously, diagnosis would give children and parents an idea of the duration of the cough and prevent inappropriate investigations and treatment.

Over 30 academic papers were submitted for in-depth discussion by the panel of assessors chaired by Professor Greg Rubin.

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