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Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough: Introduction

Whooping cough is a very contagious disease caused by a bacterial infection of the respiratory tract. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The hallmark symptoms of whooping cough are violent coughing fits following by a whooping sound made when gasping for air.

Whooping cough is highly preventable through vaccination. Whooping cough can be very serious and result in life-threatening complications, especially in infants less than six months of age.

In the early twentieth century, whooping cough was a leading cause of illness and death in infants and children. However, the devastation of whooping cough declined after the invention of the whooping cough vaccine, which is combined with diphtheria and tetanus vaccines. More recently, whooping cough is again on the rise in the U.S.

The whooping cough virus spreads from person to person when someone with the whooping cough talks, coughs, or sneezes. This shoots droplets contaminated with Bordetella pertussis bacteria into the air where they can be breathed in by others.

Infection by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria leads to typical symptoms of the whooping cough, including violent episodes of coughing. Complications of whooping cough can be serious, even life-threatening, especially in infants. For additional symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of whooping cough.

People at risk for getting the whooping cough include anyone who has not been vaccinated for the disease and is exposed to a person with the disease. Children younger than six months of age are especially at risk. In addition, immunity from vaccination wears off as a person ages, leaving adolescents and adults less protected from whooping cough then they were as children.

Making a diagnosis of whooping cough involves taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination history, and performing a physical exam. Blood tests and cultures of nasal or throat secretions may be done to check for bacteria. Some medical testing may be done to rule out or confirm other diseases with similar symptoms, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, or influenza.

It is possible that a diagnosis of whooping cough can be delayed or overlooked because the symptoms of whooping cough can resemble symptoms or other diseases. For information on diseases that can mimic whooping cough, refer to misdiagnosis ofwhooping cough.

Treatment of the whooping cough includes antibiotics and may involve hospitalization. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of whooping cough. ...more »

Whooping Cough: Highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that lasts for many weeks and is typically manifested in children with paroxysmal ... more about Whooping Cough.

Whooping Cough: An infectious condition caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Whooping Cough is available below.

Whooping Cough: Symptoms

Early symptoms of the whooping cough may be mild and include a runny nose, dry cough, and low-grade fever. Within a few days, symptoms get worse and coughing becomes severe in fits or episodes of coughing that can last up to one minute. During the episodes of coughing the face can become red or blue (cyanosis) due to a lack of oxygen. The episodes ...more symptoms »

Whooping Cough: Treatments

Treatment of whooping cough starts with prevention. The best protection from getting or spreading the whooping cough is getting vaccinated as recommended with the whooping cough vaccine. Preventing the spread of whooping cough and other contagious diseases also includes covering the mouth and nose with an elbow or a tissue when sneezing or coughing and washing hands ...more treatments »

Whooping Cough: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of the whooping cough is generally made from information obtained by taking a thorough health history, including symptoms and vaccination history, and performing a physical exam. Misdiagnosing whooping cough is possible because the symptoms, especially early symptoms, can be vague and similar to symptoms of other diseases. These include upper ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

Treatments for Whooping Cough

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Whooping Cough:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Whooping Cough?

Whooping Cough: Related Patient Stories

Whooping Cough: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Whooping Cough.

Alternative Treatments for Whooping Cough

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Whooping Cough may include:

  • Pertussis nosode homeopathic prevention
  • Drosera homeopathic remedy
  • Antimonium tartaricum homeopathic remedy
  • Carbo vegetabilis homeopathic remedy
  • Cuprum homeopathic remedy
  • more treatments »

Whooping Cough: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Whooping Cough:

Causes of Whooping Cough

Read more about causes of Whooping Cough.

More information about causes of Whooping Cough:

Disease Topics Related To Whooping Cough

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Whooping Cough:

Whooping Cough: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Whooping Cough

Mild worm infections undiagnosed in children: Human worm infestations, esp. threadworm, can be overlooked in some cases, because it may more »

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Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection, such as a common more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be more »

Blood pressure cuffs misdiagnose hypertension in children: One known misdiagnosis issue with hyperension, arises in relation to the simple equipment used to test blood pressure. The "cuff" around the arm more »

Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients. These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, more »

Chronic lung diseases hard to diagnose: Some of the chronic lung diseases are difficult to diagnose. Even the well-knowns conditions such as asthma or lung cancer often fail to be diagnosed more »

Whooping Cough: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Whooping Cough

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Whooping Cough:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Whooping Cough, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Whooping Cough: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Whooping Cough

Medical research articles related to Whooping Cough include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Whooping Cough: Animations

Prognosis for Whooping Cough

Research about Whooping Cough

Visit our research pages for current research about Whooping Cough treatments.

Clinical Trials for Whooping Cough

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Whooping Cough include:

Prevention of Whooping Cough

Prevention information for Whooping Cough has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Whooping Cough.

Statistics for Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough: Broader Related Topics

Whooping Cough Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Whooping Cough, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Whooping Cough

Highly communicable, vaccine-preventable disease that lasts for many weeks and is typically manifested in children with paroxysmal spasms of severe coughing, whooping, and posttussive vomiting. (Source: excerpt from Pertussis: DBMD)

Definitions of Whooping Cough:

A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria that is the causative agent of WHOOPING COUGH. Its cells are minute coccobacilli that are surrounded by a slime sheath. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A disease of the respiratory mucous membrane - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Whooping Cough is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Whooping Cough, or a subtype of Whooping Cough, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Ophanet, a consortium of European partners, currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000. They list Whooping Cough as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet


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