Pertussis or Whooping Cough

Chest | Pulmonology | Pertussis or Whooping Cough (Symptom)


Whooping cough is an infectious and contagious disease characterized by coughing painful daily feature, which takes several weeks. Contagiousness is very high. It is achieved especially by children, from birth and up to seven years.

The newborn has no immunity passed from mother. Infant wear a serious form of disease, if it was vaccinated. It is also serious in any child debilitated. Severity of the disease is due to spasm intensity of cough, bronchopneumonia secondary reactions encephalitis. Whooping cough lasts 7 to 14 days. During incubation is not any special sign. Disease progresses in three phases: invasion phase (the onset, catarrhal) takes 7-10 days. The beginning is deceptive, resembling an ordinary infection of the nose and throat. At first the cough is uncharacteristic, but becomes more common and stubborn to painkillers cough. At this stage the disease is difficult to recognize.


Whooping cough is caused by an infection with a bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria attach to the lining of the airways in the upper respiratory system and release toxins that lead to inflammation and swelling. For children there is high pertussis vaccine coverage. However, protection from the childhood vaccine decreases over time. Preteens, teens and adults need to be revaccinated, even if they were completely vaccinated as children.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Antibiotics directed against Bordetella pertussis can be effective in reducing the severity of whooping cough when administered early in the course of the disease.