National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
- Whooping Cough
Pertussis is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. This disease has 3 stages: catarrhal, paroxysmal, and convalescent. The symptoms of the catarrhal stage are mild and may go unnoticed. The paroxysmal stage of Pertussis is characterized by episodes of coughing with a distinctive "whooping" sound when breathing in (inspiration). This characteristic cough gives the disease its common name, Whooping Cough. During the convalescent stage, episodes of coughing are less frequent and symptoms improve. The incidence of Pertussis has diminished greatly with widespread use of the DPT vaccine (Diphtheria Pertussis Tetanus), but in certain areas of the United States outbreaks have occurred periodically in recent years.
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Last Updated: 4/10/2009
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