Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
What is Pertussis? (Whooping Cough) Fact Sheet 2018 Flier
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 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 with pertussis often needs to take deep breathes which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.
Read the story of a little one who suffered from whooping cough: http://shotbyshot.org/pertussis/kaliahs-story/
Need another reason to vaccinate?Watch this video
The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.
People of all ages can get "Whooping Cough", but infants are at greatest risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. Pregnant women with "Whooping Cough" near the time of delivery may spread it to their newborns.
Childhood Pertussis vaccine wears off and only 10% of adults nationwide are now protected!!! All teens and adults need to see their healthcare provider, or come to Uinta County Public Health to ask about Tdap.
We have the vaccine to protect you and your loved ones. Call for an immunization appointment today!
(307) 789-9203 in Evanston or (307) 787-3800 in the Bridger Valley. We'll be waiting to hear from you.
Healthcare providers clickhere "Whoopie Doopies"
Causes & Transmission
Español: Causas y transmisión
Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins, which damage the cilia and cause inflammation (swelling).
Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans and is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease (Bisgard, 2004 & Wendelboe, 2007). Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 7–10 days after being exposed, but sometimes not for as long as 6 weeks.
Pertussis vaccines are very effective in protecting you from disease but no vaccine is 100% effective. If pertussis is circulating in the community, there is a chance that a fully vaccinated person, of any age, can catch this very contagious disease. If you have been vaccinated, the infection is usually less severe. If you or your child develops a cold that includes a severe cough or a cough that lasts for a long time, it may be pertussis. The best way to know is to contact your doctor.
Signs & SymptomsHear what it sounds like: Listen to the cough
Español: Signos y síntomas
Pertussis (whooping cough) can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults. The disease usually starts with cold-like symptoms and maybe a mild cough or fever. After 1 to 2 weeks, severe coughing can begin. Unlike the common cold, pertussis can become a series of coughing fits that continues for weeks.
In infants, the cough can be minimal or not even there. Infants may have a symptom known as "apnea." Apnea is a pause in the child's breathing pattern. Pertussis is most dangerous for babies. More than half of infants younger than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized. Learn more about pertussis complications. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, over and over, until the air is gone from the lungs and you are forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. This extreme coughing can cause you to throw up and be very tired. The "whoop" is often not there and the infection is generally milder (less severe) in teens and adults, especially those who have been vaccinated.
Hear what it sounds like: Listen to the cough
Early symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and usually include:
- Runny nose
- Low-grade fever (generally minimal throughout the course of the disease)
- Mild, occasional cough
- Apnea — a pause in breathing (in infants)
Because pertussis in its early stages appears to be nothing more than the common cold, it is often not suspected or diagnosed until the more severe symptoms appear. Infected people are most contagious during this time, up to about 2 weeks after the cough begins. Antibiotics may shorten the amount of time someone is contagious.
As the disease progresses, the traditional symptoms of pertussis appear and include:
- Paroxysms (fits) of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched "whoop" Hear what it sounds like: Listen to the cough
- Vomiting (throwing up)
- Exhaustion (very tired) after coughing fits
Although you are often exhausted after a coughing fit, you usually appear fairly well in-between. Coughing fits generally become more common and severe as the illness continues, and can occur more often at night. The illness can be milder (less severe) and the typical "whoop" absent in children, teens, and adults who have been vaccinated.
Recovery from pertussis can happen slowly. The cough becomes less severe and less common. However, coughing fits can return with other respiratory infections for many months after pertussis started.
Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics and early treatment is very important. Treatment may make your infection less severe if it is started early, before coughing fits begin. Treatment can also help prevent spreading the disease to close contacts (people who have spent a lot of time around the infected person) and is necessary for stopping the spread of pertussis. Treatment after three weeks of illness is unlikely to help because the bacteria are gone from your body, even though you usually will still have symptoms. This is because the bacteria have already done damage to your body.
The best way to prevent pertussis (whooping cough) among infants, children, teens, and adults is to get vaccinated. Also, keep infants and other people at high risk for pertussis complications away from infected people.
In the United States, the recommended pertussis vaccine for infants and children is called DTaP. This is a combination vaccine that protects against three diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis.
The childhood whooping cough vaccine (DTaP) protects most children for at least 5 years.
Vaccine protection for these three diseases fades with time. Before 2005, the only booster available contained protection against tetanus and diphtheria (called Td), and was recommended for teens and adults every 10 years. Today there is a booster for preteens, teens and adults that contains protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap).
Getting vaccinated with Tdap — at least two weeks before coming into close contact with an infant — is especially important for families with and care-givers of new infants.
The easiest thing for adults to do is to get Tdap instead of their next regular tetanus booster-that Td shot that they were supposed to get every 10 years. The dose of Tdap can be given earlier than the 10-year mark, so it is a good idea for adults to talk to a healthcare provider about what is best for their specific situation.
For more information, click "http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/index.html