Whooping Cough

By: Jonathan Frangione

What it is

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that affects the lungs. This disease is caused by a bacteria called "Bordetella pertussis"—that's why whooping cough is also called "pertussis.


Pertussis is an epidemic disease caused by Bordetella pertussis and also to a lesser extent by Bordetella parapertussis. Classical illness lasts 4-8 weeks and is characterized by paroxysms of coughing with posttussive vomiting and whooping; however, 47.4% of primary infections last 4 weeks or less. Whole cell pertussis vaccines are generally highly efficacious. All whole cell vaccines are reactogenic, causing fever and local reactions in many vaccinees. In the past, these vaccines were thought to cause infant deaths and brain damage. However, several large epidemiologic studies indicate that whole cell vaccines do not cause infant deaths or neurologic disease. Recent studies indicate that neither immunization nor infection give long-term immunity. As a result, B. pertussis infections are endemic in adult populations. The future control of B. pertussis will require immunization schedules with new acellular vaccines that include booster doses in older children and adults


When the bacteria get into your airways, they attach to the tiny hairs in the linings of the lungs. The bacteria cause swelling and inflammation, which lead to a dry, long-lasting cough and other cold-like symptoms.


  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Fever
  • Cold
  • Provoke vomiting
  • Result in a red or blue face
  • Cause extreme fatigue
  • End with a high-pitched "whoop" sound during the next breath of air

Current Treatment


Preventative Measures

A vaccine called Tdap can help protect adolescents and adults against 3 diseases: tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. Pertussis is another name for whooping cough

How many people get the Whooping cough every year?

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"Whooping Cough: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention."WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

"Whooping Cough." Symptoms. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

"Understanding Whooping Cough." What Is Whooping Cough. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

5259. Historical Review of Pertussis and the Classical Vaccine (n.d.): n. pag. Web.