Whooping cough

Whooping cough
Also known as pertussis, this is a feared infectious disease that can strike the respiratory system and affect other organs of the body. It has three stages—an initial stage with watery runny nose and eyes, a progressive cough stage with characteristic (sometimes severe) coughing spells, and (if the child survives) a recovery stage. The disease may last for 2-6 weeks. Therapy is supportive and many young infants need hospitalization if the coughing becomes severe. Immunization with DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine provides protection. With pertussis, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (or, if you are metrically inclined, a gram of prevention is worth a kilo of cure). Have your child immunized!

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whooping cough n an infectious disease esp. of children caused by a bacterium of the genus Bordetella (B. pertussis) and marked by a convulsive spasmodic cough sometimes followed by a crowing intake of breath called also pertussis

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an acute infectious disease, primarily of infants, caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which affects the respiratory tract. It often occurs in epidemics. After an incubation period of 1-2 weeks there is a catarrhal stage, in which the infant has signs of an upper respiratory-tract infection. A cough develops, which becomes increasingly severe and is accompanied by a whoop; the child can become exhausted and may stop breathing. This stage lasts 4-6 weeks. The most common complication is pneumonia, but bronchiectasis and convulsions due to asphyxia or bleeding into the brain tissue may also occur. Immunization offers protection and is usually given in the form of the DPT vaccine, although this should not be given if there is evidence of an evolving neurological problem. An attack usually confers lifelong immunity. Medical name: pertussis.

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pertussis.

Medical dictionary. 2011.


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