Because of the central rôle postulated for Pertussis Toxin in the pathogenesis of whooping cough, and the well-established ability of this toxin to alter insulin and glucose levels in animal blood, a study of insulin and glucose levels in hospitalised pertussis patients and in controls was made. With blood specimens collected in heparin-fluoride anticoagulant, the geometric mean plasma-insulin level (13.3 μU/ml) in a series of 24 pertussis patients was slightly, but statistically significantly, higher than that (8.9 μU/ml) in a series of 27 non-pertussis controls with other infectious diseases (p<0.02). Portions of the same blood specimens collected in lithium-heparin anticoagulant yielded higher mean plasma-insulin values of 15.5 and 11.4 μU/ml respectively, with no significant difference between them (p > 0.05). Mean plasma glucose concentrations were not significantly different between the two groups, and hypoglycaemia was not detected in any pertussis patient. There were no statistically significant differences between pertussis and control children in the mean levels of plasma calcium, magnesium or phosphate.


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