LIVEWELL MINUTE: Whooping Cough

A whooping cough, or pertussis, outbreak is always a serious problem because this illness is highly contagious and affects young infants significantly, even causing death.

Dr. Amaran Moodley, M.D., Infectious Disease, Blank Children’s Hospital says “Whooping cough is a respiratory illness caused by a bacteria that is highly contagious and it’s transmitted between adolescents and adults and from adults to young infants.”

After cold-like symptoms appear, severe episodes of coughing start at about 10 to 12 days. In children the coughing often ends with a “whoop” noise as the patient tries to take a breath.

Dr. Moodley says, “Whooping cough is preventable for the most part. We have vaccines available for children at 2, 4 and 6 months of age and for adolescents and adults. The problem starts with children who are too young to be immunized or too young to be protected by their regular childhood immunizations.”

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