Whooping Cough (Pertussis )

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Pertussis, or whooping cough, is less common in young children than it used to be, as the pertussis vaccine has made most children immune. Before this vaccine was developed, there were several hundred thousand cases of whooping cough each year in the United States. Now there are approximately 1 million cases a year in the US, but these are mostly in adults and adolescents. This illness is caused by pertussis bacteria, which attack the lining of the breathing passages (bronchi and bronchioles), producing severe inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Severe coughing is a prominent symptom. If not recognized properly, the bacteria may spread to those in close contact with the infected person, through her respiratory secretions. Read more…