A Vaccine Preventable Disease
Identification and Definition of Pertussis
History of Pertussis
Signs and Symptoms of Pertussis
Babies who are infected with pertussis may not exhibit coughing fits. Instead, they stop breathing and turn blue.
Transmission of Pertussis
Pertussis is only found in humans and cannot be transmitted by other organisms.
Complications of Pertussis
Pertussis can be a deadly disease for babies and children, especially babies younger than 1 year old. About half of babies with pertussis require hospital care and experience other complications such as pneumonia, convulsions, apnea, and encephalopathy. About 1% of babies with pertussis die.
Teens and Adults
Teens and adults with pertussis experience less serious complications from the disease. About 5% of this age group require hospital care. Most complications for teens and adults with pertussis are pneumonia, weight loss, loss of bladder control, passing out, or rib fractures from the coughing fits.
Recommended Control of Pertussis
The most effective way to prevent pertussis is vaccination. Because pertussis is very similar to the common cold at the onset of the disease, many people are unaware that they have pertussis.
In the United States, the vaccine recommended against pertussis is DTaP. DTaP is a combination vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Children are recommended to be given a total of 5 doses of DTaP. A dose is usually given at age 2, 4 and 6 months, one dose between 15 to 18 months, and another dose between 4 to 6 years of age. DTaP vaccine protection fades overtime and a booster shot is recommended every 10 years for teens and adults. This booster shot is available as Tdap.
Because pertussis is spread by coughing or sneezing, or being in close contact with other people, practicing good hygiene behaviors can help reduce the risk of getting pertussis. Good hygiene behaviors include covering your mouth and nose while sneezing, washing hands often with soap and water, and disposing of used tissue properly.
An infant being treated for severe pertussis infection.
A child with bruising and broken blood vessels in his eyes from severe coughing from pertussis