Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
A Vaccine Preventable Illness
Identification and Definition
History of Whooping Cough
Signs and Symptoms
- Runny nose
- mild, occasional cough
- Apnea-pause in breathing (in babies)
- Low-grade fever
- Fits of many, rapid coughs followed by high-pitched "whoop"
- Vomiting after or during coughing fits
- Exhaustion after coughing fits
Recovery lasts about 2-3 weeks were patient is susceptible to other infections. Coughing fits will gradually lessen over time.
Transmission of Whooping Cough
Caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis, Whooping Cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) in the upper respiratory system and release toxins which cause the airways to swell.
Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease that is only transferred from person to person usually through coughing or sneezing in their close vicinity. Babies are usually infected by older siblings, parents, or caregivers who aren't vaccinated and might not know they have the disease.
Complications of Whooping Cough
Complications such as:
- Pneumonia (lung infection)
- Convulsions (violent, uncontrolled shaking)
- Apnea (slowed or stopped breathing)
- Encephalophathy (disease of the brain)
- Death (1%)
-10 to 20 deaths in the US per year
Although teens and adults can also suffer from complications of Whooping Cough, they aren't usually as serious.
- Weight loss
- Loss of bladder control
- Passing out
- Rib fractures from severe coughing
Recommended Control Measures for Whooping Cough
- Whooping Cough can be prevented with the DTaP for children under 7 and DdaP teens and adults
- DTaP prevents three diseases: diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- DTaP protects children for about 5 years
- One person with Whooping Cough can infect up to 12-15 people
- Increase in reports of the disease every 3-5 years