What causes whooping cough (pertussis)?

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Whooping cough is caused by bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria infect the respiratory tract and allow germs to multiply. Mucus accumulation in the bronchial tubes leads to coughing. The characteristic "whoop" cough is due to inflammation of the airways, also caused by the bacteria. When you try to breathe in after a coughing fit, the narrowed bronchi produce the high-pitched "whooping" cough.

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Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough

If your child experiences uncontrollable coughing that makes it difficult for them to breathe, talk to your doctor about whooping cough. Thousands of people yearly become ill with whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, ...

and some are hospitalized. This highly contagious illness can be very dangerous, and even deadly, in young infants. Thankfully, vaccines have helped to reduce the spread of whooping cough, although current vaccines are not 100% effective against this illness. If your child contracts this bacterial respiratory infection he or she will most likely be treated with antibiotics. To protect your children against whooping cough, talk to your doctor about vaccination
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.