Waning pertussis immunity and spread of pertussis by asymptomatic adults contributes to increased pertussis exposures of vulnerable children. The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center had 49 pertussis exposures between July 1, 1989, and June 30, 1997, which originated in pediatric units or clinics and had an impact on the Employee Health Service (EHS) and Emergency Department (ED). We have developed a standardized protocol for management of employees and patients exposed to pertussis. The protocol includes a checklist for infection control staff; memoranda to exposed units conveying exposure information, instructions for employees to report to EHS or ED, and disease symptom information; written guidelines for physician management of patient exposures (prophylaxis and isolation) and EHS or ED management of employee exposures; and prophylaxis recommendations. We allow exposed employees to work while wearing a mask (worn until 5 days of prophylaxis are completed or for the entire potential contagious period if prophylaxis was refused). Employees who develop pertussis are restricted from work. Our protocol and standardized forms provide consistent management of pertussis exposures in both patients and employees.
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