Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, also called Pertussis, is a respiratory infection that is well-known for its characteristic cough. Whooping cough is extremely dangerous to young children, and has a high fatality rate in infants and babies. The early symptoms of whooping cough are also similar to other common illnesses such as ...

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Introduction: Whooping Cough

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone ...1

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Symptoms of Whooping Cough

Whooping cough—also known as pertussis—causes uncontrollable coughing that makes it hard to catch your breath. Early signs of pertussis can be hard to spot. Symptoms usually begin quietly about a week after infection, with sniffles and sneezes that ...2

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Complications of Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is most harmful to young children. “Infants are at greatest risk, especially when they’re under 3 months of age—too young to be protected by the vaccine,” says Dr. Kathryn Edwards, a pediatrician and vaccine researcher at ...3

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Causes of Whooping Cough

INFECTIOUS AGENT: Fastidious gram-negative coccobacillus, Bordetella pertussis. ...Source: CDC Yellow Book 20164 ...

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Types of Whooping Cough

Q: Are pertussis bacteria changing and causing an increase in pertussis cases? A: CDC is evaluating potential causes of increasing rates of pertussis, including changes in disease-causing bacteria types ("strains"). Unlike a foodborne illness where one strain causes an ...5

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Diagnosis of Whooping Cough

DIAGNOSIS: Factors such as prior vaccination status, stage of disease, antibiotic use, specimen collection and transport conditions, and use of nonstandardized tests may affect the sensitivity, specificity, and interpretation of available diagnostic tests for B. pertussis. CDC guidelines for the ...6

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Risk Factors for Whooping Cough

Immunity from childhood vaccination and natural disease wanes with time; therefore, adolescents and adults who have not received a tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) booster vaccination can become infected or reinfected. US travelers are not at increased risk for disease specifically ...7

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Misdiagnosis: Whooping Cough

Undiagnosed Whooping Cough: The biggest risk in diagnosis of whooping cough is that it is often undiagnosed, or only diagnosed late by its characteristic “whoop” cough. The early symptoms of whooping cough are very similar to a common cold or ...

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Treatments: Whooping Cough

TREATMENT: Macrolide antibiotics (azithromycin, clarithromycin, and erythromycin) are recommended for the treatment of pertussis in people aged ?1 month; for infants aged <1 month, azithromycin is the preferred antibiotic. Antimicrobial therapy with a macrolide antibiotic administered <3 weeks after cough ...8

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Prevention of Whooping Cough

There are two strategies to protect babies until they're old enough to receive vaccines and build their own immunity against this disease. First, vaccinate pregnant women with Tdap between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy, preferably during the ...9

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Research for Whooping Cough

How is NIAID addressing this critical topic? Over the years, and continuing into today, NIAID has played a key role in developing and implementing the pertussis research agenda, particularly in understanding the infection process and evaluating vaccines and vaccine regimens ...10

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Names and Terminology

Other Names: Bordetella pertussis infection; Pertussis ...Source: GARD (NIH)11 ...

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  1. Source: CDC: cdc.gov/ pertussis/ 
  2. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ issue/ jun2013/ feature2
  3. ibid.
  4. Source: CDC Yellow Book 2016: cdc.gov/ travel/ yellowbook/ 2016/ infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/ pertussis
  5. Source: CDC: cdc.gov/ pertussis/ about/ faqs.html
  6. Source: CDC Yellow Book 2016: cdc.gov/ travel/ yellowbook/ 2016/ infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/ pertussis
  7. ibid.
  8. ibid.
  9. Source: CDC: cdc.gov/ pertussis/ about/ faqs.html
  10. Source: NIAID (NIH): niaid.nih.gov/ diseases-conditions/ pertussis-whooping-cough
  11. Source: GARD (NIH): rarediseases.info.nih.gov/ diseases/ 8692/ whooping-cough

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.