A Cough-Based Algorithm for Automatic Diagnosis of Pertussis

Pertussis is a contagious respiratory disease which mainly affects young children and can be fatal if left untreated. The World Health Organization estimates 16 million pertussis cases annually worldwide resulting in over 200,000 deaths. It is prevalent mainly in developing countries where it is difficult to diagnose due to the lack of healthcare facilities and medical professionals. Hence, a low-cost, quick and easily accessible solution is needed to provide pertussis diagnosis in such areas to contain an outbreak. In this paper we present an algorithm for automated diagnosis of pertussis using audio signals by analyzing cough and whoop sounds. The algorithm consists of three main blocks to perform automatic cough detection, cough classification and whooping sound detection. Each of these extract relevant features from the audio signal and subsequently classify them using a logistic regression model. The output from these blocks is collated to provide a pertussis likelihood diagnosis. The performance of the proposed algorithm is evaluated using audio recordings from 38 patients. The algorithm is able to diagnose all pertussis successfully from all audio recordings without any false diagnosis. It can also automatically detect individual cough sounds with 92% accuracy and PPV of 97%. The low complexity of the proposed algorithm coupled with its high accuracy demonstrates that it can be readily deployed using smartphones and can be extremely useful for quick identification or early screening of pertussis and for infection outbreaks control.

Authors:Pramono RX1, Imtiaz SA1, Rodriguez-Villegas E1.
Journal:PLoS One. 2016