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Pertussis

Pertussis or whooping cough is a respiratory tract disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. This disease is highly contagious. Whooping cough can be serious when it affects infants and young children who have not been vaccinated. Pertussis causes thick mucus to develop in the airways. There might be inflammation of the breathing tubes in the lungs.


A patient suffering from pertussis has severe coughing spells. There might be low-grade fever too. The person may make a characteristic whooping sound, that is high pitched while coughing. The cough attacks are worse at night. Cough spells may be accompanied by vomiting. Other symptoms of pertussis include nasal congestion and runny nose. There is likely to be loss of appetite.


Treatment for pertussis includes antibiotics such as azithromycin or erythromycin. Sometimes hospitalization may be required. It takes about 4 - 6 weeks for pertussis infection to clear off with the right treatment and care. Pertussis vaccine immunizes a person from whooping cough. This is part of the immunization schedule for children. Pertussis vaccine is given along with the vaccines for diphtheria and tetanus. This DPT vaccine is given to children and followed up in adult life too.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 13, 2019