Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
A Vaccine Preventable Illness
Identification and Definition
History of Pertussis
signs and symptoms of pertussis
Early symptom can last 1-2 weeks and usually are:
- Mild, occasional cough
- Runny nose
- Low-grade fever
- Apnea - pause in breathing (babies)
Pertussis is most dangerous to babies, those who are 1 year or younger. An important note is that babies who have pertussis don't cough, but have apnea and turn blue in the face.
Pertussis in the early stages can seem like a normal cold so it's usually not diagnosed until the severe symptoms are seen which include:
- Vomiting during or after coughing fits
- Exhaustion after coughing fits
- Paroxysms (fits) of many, fast coughs followed by a high pitched "whoop"
Transmission of pertussis
complication of pertussis
- (23%) Pneumonia (lung infection)
- (1.1%) Convulsions
- (61%) Apnea
- (0.3%) Encephalopathy (disease of the brain)
- (1%) Will die
Teens and adults can also get complications, but the are usually less serious. In the older age groups complications are usually from the coughing aspect of pertussis. About 1 out 20 teens and adults need to be hospitalized for pertussis the most common complications included:
- (5%) Pneumonia
- (33%) Weight loss
- (6%) Passing out
- (4%) Rib fractures from severe coughing fit
recommended control measures for pertussis
- Getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent pertussis with DTaP for kids under 6 years of age and Tdap for those who are older; also to keep babies away from people who are more likely to be infected.
- There are also preventative antibiotics so if someone around you had pertussis the others could take the antibiotics and prevent the spread of the disease.
- Respiratory illnesses like pertussis can also be prevented from spreading by practicing good hygiene.
- In the US there has been in a rise of cases of pertussis with a peak in 2012 that had 48,277 reported cases, but there were also many unreported or undiagnosed. Since 2010 there has been more cases reported among teens and children aged 7-10.
- Worldwide, there are about 16 million cases and around 195,000 deaths per year of pertussis.
Infants receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) for severe pertussis infection. It takes over the work of the lungs and heart and they also receive dialysis to help the kidneys to continue working.