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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

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Disease Details

Incubation Period:

  • 7 - 10 days

Transmission Type(s):

Disease Reservoirs

Disease Agents

About Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis, a respiratory illness commonly known as whooping cough, is a very contagious disease caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. These bacteria attach to the cilia (tiny, hair-like extensions) that line part of the upper respiratory system. The bacteria release toxins, which damage the cilia and cause inflammation (swelling).

Pertussis is a very contagious disease only found in humans and is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. Many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings, parents or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease (Bisgard, 2004 & Wendelboe, 2007). Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5–10 days after being exposed, but sometimes not for as long as 3 weeks.

Read More

Read more about Pertussis (Whooping Cough) at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Website