Pertussis

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing. A deep whooping sound is often heard when the patient tries to take a breath. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about pertussis in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is a highly contagious but preventable bacterial infection of the trachea and the bronchi.

Pertussis usually affects young children who are not vaccinated. However, for the last 30 years it has been increasing among adults all over the world.

The severe cough of pertussis can be very disabling, interfere with sleep, expose unvaccinated persons to infection and even cause rib fractures. Infants can experience nose bleeds, ear infections, pneumonia, seizures, brain damage or even death due to impaired breathing.

The most important step for prevention of pertussis is vaccination during the first years of life. To reduce the occurrence of pertussis among adolescents and adults, a booster vaccination is recommended for all adolescents, as well as for adults at least once during their routine tetanus booster schedule. Vaccination of women prior to delivery is another important strategy for reducing pertussis infections in infants.

The course of pertussis varies. Most children and adults completely recover, even without antibiotics, after several months of coughing.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.