December 22 21:24 2019 Print This Article

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious disease marked by severe coughing. In the prevaccination era, pertussis (ie, whooping cough) was a leading cause of infant death. It is named after the “whoop” sound children and adults make when they try to breathe in during or after a severe coughing spell. There are 30-50 million cases per year, and about 300,000 deaths per year (World Health Organization data). Most deaths occur in children under one year of age.

Outbreaks of pertussis were first described in the 16th century, and the organism was first isolated in 1906. A respiratory infection characterized by paroxysmal coughing ending in a prolonged crowing intake of breath.The reasons for these increases are not entirely clear, but three- to five-year cycles of increased number of cases are known to occur. It is a serious bacterial infection of the lining of the breathing passages, particularly in the windpipe area. The germ is highly contagious and is easily spread from person to person.

B pertussis is a gram-negative pleomorphic bacillus that spreads via aerosolized droplets from coughing of infected individuals. B. pertussis produces multiple antigenic and biologically active products, including pertussis toxin, filamentous hemagglutinin, agglutinogens, adenylate cyclase, pertactin, and tracheal cytotoxin. Pertussis was recognizably described as early as 1578 by Guillaume de Baillou (1538-1616), but earlier reports date back at least to the 12th century.

Significant reductions in incidence and mortality have been achieved since the introduction of routine vaccination. Children with pertussis have decreased ability to cough up respiratory secretions and develop thick, glue-like mucus in the windpipe. Pertussis should be included in the differential diagnosis of protracted cough with cyanosis or vomiting, persistent rhinorrhea, and marked lymphocytosis.

Causes of Pertussis

The comman Causes of Pertussis include the following:

  • Whooping cough is caused by a bacteria that is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person.
  • Nonvaccination in children.
  • Sneezes or coughs from a person with diphtheria can infect someone who doesn’t have the disease.
  • Schools and day care centers are also a common source of infection in children.
  • Epidemic exposure.
  • Severe allergic reaction (less than 1 per million children).
  • Pertussis is spread through the air by infectious droplets and is highly contagious.

Symptoms of Pertussis

Some sign and symptoms related to Pertussis are as follows:

  • The disease starts with cold symptoms: runny nose and cough.
  • The cough gradually becomes severe and, after one to two weeks, the patient has spasmodic bursts of numerous, rapid coughs.
  • Low-grade fever.
  • Gagging or vomiting may occur after severe coughing spells. Cough may be worse at night.
  • Tearing from the eyes.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Fatigue.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Choking spells in infants.

Treatment of Pertussis

Here is list of the methods for treating Pertussis:

  • Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics such as azythromycin, erythromycin or clarithromycin or an acceptable alternative.
  • Sedatives may be prescribed for young children.
  • General supportive measures (eg, breathing treatments, mechanical ventilation) should be administered as needed.
  • Patients who are severely ill may require treatment in an ICU.
  • An oxygen tent with high humidity may be used.
  • Persons with pertussis should avoid contact with others until no longer contagious.
  • Intravenous fluid may be necessary if coughing spells are severe enough to prevent the patient from drinking enough fluids.