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Whooping Cough

Whooping cough (Pertussis), is a highly contagious disease caused by the bacterium "Bordetella", most often B. Pertussis. There are 30–50 million cases per year, and about 300,000 deaths per year. Virtually all deaths occur in children under one year of age. Ninety percent of all cases occur in developing countries. The disease is spread by contact with airborne discharges from the mucous membranes of infected people.

whooping cough symptoms

The early symptoms of whooping cough are characterized by a mild respiratory infection such as:

  • cough
  • sneezing
  • runny nose.

After one to two weeks whooping cough symptoms become more clearly unique to Pertussis, as the cough changes character, with paroxysms of coughing followed by an inspiratory "whooping" sound. This characteristic sound is very unique, and can easily be identified by most physicians.

Coughing fits may be followed by vomiting, which in severe cases leads to malnutrition and dehydration. Coughing fits gradually diminish over one to two months. Other complications of the disease include:

  • pneumonia
  • encephalitis
  • pulmonary hypertension
  • secondary bacterial super-infections

Posted by Staff at June 21, 2005 6:00 AM

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