Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Overview

Whooping cough is an infectious bacterial illness that affects the respiratory passages. First described in the 1640s, whooping cough is so named because spasms of coughing are punctuated by a characteristic "whoop" sound when the child inhales deeply after a coughing spell.

  • Whooping cough is one of the most common vaccine-preventable diseases among children younger than 5 years of age in the United States. It is also known as pertussis -- the "P" in the familiar DTaP combination inoculation routinely given to children and the "p" in Tdap given to adolescents and adults.
  • Despite the widespread use of vaccines, whooping cough has made a comeback in recent years. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prior to the introduction of the pertussis vaccine, there were an average of 175,000 cases of whooping cough each year. This dropped off to fewer than 3,000 cases per year in the 1980s; in the U.S. alone, a total of 41,000 cases of pertussis were reported in 2012. The CDC reports that as of Jan. 10, 2013, 49 states and Washington, D.C., reported increases in disease in 2012 compared with 2011.
  • The World Health Organization estimates there were 195,000 deaths from whooping cough worldwide in 2008 and 139,382 reported cases in 2011, making this easy-to-prevent disease one of the leading causes of illness and death.
  • The prevalence of whooping cough in infants and children is increasing. Most deaths from pertussis occur among infants under 3 months of age. The incidence rate of pertussis among infants is greater than all other age groups. The second highest rates of whooping cough are seen in children 7 to 10 years of age.
  • In June 2010, the state of California declared a whooping cough epidemic, with 4,017 cases reported -- the largest number of cases since 1955.
  • States that reported pertussis epidemics in 2012 include Washington (4,783 reported cases), Vermont (632 reported cases), Minnesota (4,433 reported cases), Wisconsin (5,923 reported cases), and Colorado (1,510 cases).

Must Read Articles Related to Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Antibiotics
Antibiotics Antibiotics are prescribed to individuals to cure disease by killing bacteria. There are over 100 antibiotics. The main classes of antibiotics include penicilli...learn more >>
Choking
Choking Choking is a blockage of the upper airway by food or other objects, preventing a person from breathing effectively. Choking can cause a simple coughing fit or c...learn more >>
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Complete Blood Count (CBC) Complete blood count (CBC) is one of the most common blood tests. The complete blood count test provides valuable information about the quantity of the differen...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Whooping Cough (Pertussis):

Whooping Cough - Treatment

What was the treatment for your whooping cough?

Whooping Cough - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with whooping cough (pertussis).

Whooping Cough - Symptoms

What symptoms did you experience with your whooping cough?






Medical Dictionary