Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is caused by a bacterial infection. While infants have the greatest chance of getting whooping cough, the illness can be contracted at any age. In general, whooping cough starts off like a common cold. Symptoms can include runny nose, low-grade fever, tiredness, and a mild or occasional cough. Over time, coughing spells become more severe.
Whooping cough in adults: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is very contagious and mainly affects infants and young children. The illness is characterized by coughing spells that end with a characteristic "whoop" as air is inhaled. Whooping cough caused thousands of deaths in the s and s. With the advent of a vaccine, the death rate has declined dramatically. Pertussis vaccines are very effective. Babies who are too young to receive the vaccine are also at very high risk of catching pertussis. The illness can be very serious, even sometimes fatal, in young infants.
Owing to the atypical presentation of symptoms in this population, proper prevention and treatment are particularly important to reduce the risk of transmission to young children and infants. Treatment of pertussis involves the use of antimicrobial therapy, particularly macrolide antibiotics. Infection prevention in adults is managed through scheduled vaccination with tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis Tdap.
Healthcare providers diagnose pertussis whooping cough by considering if you have been exposed to pertussis and by doing a:. Figure 1: Proper technique for obtaining a nasopharyngeal specimen for isolation of Bordetella pertussis. Healthcare providers generally treat pertussis with antibiotics and early treatment is very important. Treatment may make your infection less serious if you start it early, before coughing fits begin.