Bad tests led thou­sands to take whoop­ing cough an­tibi­otics need­lessly

The Covington News - - HEALTH & WELLNESS - By Mike Stobbe

AT­LANTA ( AP) - A re­ported boom in U. S. whoop­ing cough cases is now be­ing ques­tioned af­ter health of­fi­cials dis­cov­ered a reg­u­larly used lab test mis­di­ag­nosed cases in sus­pected out­breaks in New Hamp­shire, Mas­sachusetts and Ten­nessee.

The false test re­sults led thou­sands of peo­ple to take an­tibi­otics un­nec­es­sar­ily and even caused a New Hamp­shire hospi­tal to limit the num­ber of pa­tients ad­mit­ted since hospi­tal work­ers were thought to be in­fected.

The test­ing er­rors were re­ported Thurs­day by re­searchers with the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

Per­tus­sis, or whoop­ing cough, is a po­ten­tially fa­tal bac­te­rial res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion. Its name comes from the sound vic­tims make as they try to re­cover their breath af­ter a cough­ing fit.

Gov­ern­ment health of­fi­cials say cases have tripled in the United States since 2001, with nearly 26,000 cases re­ported in 2005. Nearly half of those cases were di­ag­nosed with the test­ing method now called into ques­tion, and that has raised doubts about the true num­ber of cases.

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