Pertussis or Whooping Cough is a highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract caused by
Bordetella pertussis, a bacteria that lives in the mouth, nose, and throat. Many children who
contract pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks. The disease is most
dangerous in infants and spreads easily from person to person, mainly through droplets produced
by coughing or sneezing. The first symptoms generally appear 7–10 days after infection, and
include mild fever, runny nose, and cough, which in typical cases gradually develops into a
spasmotic cough followed by whooping (hence the common name of whooping cough). In the
youngest infants, the spasms of coughing may be followed by periods of difficulty to catch a
breath. Pneumonia is a relatively common complication; seizures and brain dysfunction occur
more rarely. Untreated patients may be contagious for three weeks or more following onset of
the cough. Pertussis or whooping cough can be prevented by immunization.
How does whooping cough start out?
Whooping cough often starts with cold or flulike symptoms – sneezing, runny nose,
and a mild cough, which may last up to two weeks before the more severe coughing
spells begin. Your child may also have a fever. … The patient may cough up or vomit a
How common is whooping cough in the US?
Even with the success of pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines, the disease is still
common in the United States. Many cases are not diagnosed and so are not reported.
In recent years between 10,000 and 40,000 cases are reported each year.
How serious is the Whooping Cough?
Whooping cough—or pertussis—is a very serious respiratory (in the lungs and
breathing tubes) infection caused by the pertussis bacteria. It causes violent coughing
you can’t stop. Whooping cough is most harmful for young babies and can be deadly.
How contagious is whooping cough?
Infected people are most contagious up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins.
Antibiotics may shorten the amount of time someone is contagious. While pertussis
vaccines are the most effective tool we have to prevent this disease, no vaccine is
How long does it take to get over whooping cough?
Pertussis disease can be divided into three stages: Inflammation of the mucous
membrane stage: can last 1–2 weeks and includes a runny nose, sneezing, low-grade
fever, and a mild cough (all similar symptoms to the common cold). Coughing stage:
usually lasts 1–6 weeks, but can persist for up to 10 weeks
Is whooping cough worse at night?
In this second phase of pertussis, coughing fits occur once every one to two hours
and are worse at night. The cough can be so severe that it can cause vomiting or
passing out. In older infants and toddlers, a gasp for air after a coughing fit can
sometimes produce a loud “whoop.”
Do adults get whooping cough?
Adults may not have the classic “whoop,” if they have a milder case of the disease.
Whooping cough is most contagious before the coughing starts, so the most effective
way to prevent it is to get vaccinated. The whooping cough vaccine for adults (and
adolescents) is called Tdap (tetanus-diphtheria-acellular pertussis).
What are the signs of whooping cough in adults?
In general, whooping cough starts off like a common cold. Symptoms can include runny
nose, low-grade fever, tiredness, and a mild or occasional cough. Over time, coughing
spells become more severe. Coughing may last for several weeks, sometimes 10
weeks or longer.
How do you get tested for whooping cough?
A nose or throat culture and test. Your doctor takes a swab or suction sample from the
area where the nose and throat meet (nasopharynx). The sample is then checked for
evidence of the presence of whooping cough bacteria. Blood tests.
How long does it take to get the results of a whooping cough test?
It is easiest to find it in the first 2 weeks but very unlikely after 3 weeks. But the patient
has often had it for 3 weeks before whooping cough is suspected. So it is unusual to
get a positive culture in whooping cough. In other words, if a swab is negative, the
patient can still have whooping cough.
Can whooping cough come back?
This is very common. When whooping cough is in its recovery phase, catching
another mild respiratory infection will cause all the bad whooping cough symptoms to
come back again, but only for the duration of the cold , then it will settle again. Q5.
Can you get whooping cough if you had the vaccine?
If you’ve been vaccinated and get pertussis, you are less likely to have a serious
infection. Typically, your cough won’t last as many days and coughing fits, whooping,
and vomiting after coughing fits won’t occur as often
How often do you need to be vaccinated for whooping cough?
All adults age 19 years and older need a one-time whooping cough booster vaccine.
The whooping cough booster, called Tdap, is a combination vaccine with tetanus and
diphtheria. Pregnant women need Tdap vaccine during the third trimester (between 27
and 36 weeks of every pregnancy).
How often do you need to get the Tdap vaccine?
All adults who have not yet received a dose of Tdap, as an adolescent or adult, need to
get Tdap vaccine (the adult whooping cough vaccine). Pregnant women need a dose in
every pregnancy. After that, you will need a Td booster dose every 10 years