Counting the white blood cells of infants could be a critical step to determining whether infants have whooping cough and which are at a high risk of death from the condition.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious infection of the airways in the lungs.
A new study, published in the Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (JPIDS), investigated the medical records of 31 infants in the USA to understand more about the risks associated with the condition.
The results showed that infants who had severe disease had a higher white blood cell count and were more likely to show at least a 50% increase in their white blood cells within 48 hours of developing the condition.
Additionally, the group of infants with more severe infections had higher maximum heart rates and was more likely to develop pneumonia.
“This study shows the importance of aggressive paediatric intensive care and provides us additional metrics as we treat these very young patients.” said lead author of the study, Erin Murray.