We describe parental attitude towards mass antimicrobial prophylaxis and adolescent booster vaccination to prevent pertussis. A survey was distributed to parents at a large suburban high school where an outbreak of pertussis was occurring. A total of 314 surveys were received among 450 distributed. If antimicrobial prophylaxis was recommended for all students and faculty as a method of controlling a pertussis outbreak in their child's school (i.e. mass antimicrobial prophylaxis), 40% of parents would have their child take the medication and 49% might have their child take the antibiotic but would first consult their child's physician. Having ⩾2 children attend the high school (OR 2·2, 95% CI 1·10–4·59) and generally favouring immunizations (OR 1·7, 95% CI 0·99–2·87) were predictors of likely compliance with mass antimicrobial prophylaxis. These findings underscore the importance of communicating the rationale of public health intervention efforts to physicians in order to help ensure their success
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