Definition of Pertussis
Pertussis: Whooping cough, a communicable, potentially deadly illness characterized by fits of coughing followed by a noisy, "whooping" indrawn breath. It is caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. The illness is most likely to affect young children, but sometimes appears in teenagers and adults, even those who have been previously immunized. Immunization with DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine provides protection, although that immunity may wear off with age. When teenagers and adults get pertussis, it appears first as coughing spasms, and then a stubborn dry cough lasting up to eight weeks.
Treatment is by supportive therapy, and young infants need hospitalization if the coughing becomes severe. See DPT immunization, DTaP immunization.Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
Last Editorial Review: 4/27/2011 5:27:15 PM
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