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Whooping cough (Pertussis)

A. Definition and Overview of the Disease

Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease of the respiratory tract caused by

bacteria that live in the mouth, nose, and throat. Many children who contract
pertussis have coughing spells that last four to eight weeks. The disease is
most dangerous in infants.

B. Causative Agent

Bordetella pertussis

C. Incubation Period

7-10 but not exceeding to 21 days

D. Mode of Transmission

Direct spread through respiratory and salivary contacts.

E. Portal of Entry

Respiratory Tract

F. Host


G. Vector

There does not appear to be a zoonotic reservoir for B. pertussis

H. Portal of exit
Respiratory tract (either through nose when sneezing or through mouth when

I. Course of the Disease Process (Clinical Manifestations or Signs

and Symptoms)

Pertussis manifests itself in three stages:

1. Catarrhal stage begins with upper respiratory symptoms such as coryza,
sneezing, lacrimation, cough, and a low-grade fever. Children are irritable
and listless. In some children, a mild cough is the only symptom. It lasts from
1-2 weeks.
2. Paroxysmal stage lasts for 4-6 weeks. Cough changes from mild one to a
paroxysmal one, involving to ten short, rapid coughs, followed by a rapid
inspiration, which causes the "whoop" or high pitched crowing sound.
3. Convalescent stage- gradual cessation of the coughing and the vomiting.

Pathophysiology of Pertussis

Predisposing factors
®Young age

Precipitating factors
®Infants who are not yet
fully immunized

Bordetella pertussis
It multiplies
attaches on the
to respiratory
respiratory epithelium,
OncestartingA in thethe
nasopharynx produces
s exudate
tracheal forms
primarily in
in the
which bronchi tract
stops and
the cilia
This exudate
compromises the small
airways (especially
those of infants) and
predisposes the
affected individual to
atelectasis, cough,
cyanosis, and