What is pertussis?
Pertussis, commonly called whooping cough, is a very contagious disease. It is caused by a bacterium (germ) that attacks the upper respiratory tract after entering the nose or throat. Pertussis is usually mild in older children and adults, but it can cause serious problems in very young children (i.e., infants under 1 year of age). Pertussis can be serious, especially for infants. It can cause breathing problems (apnea), pneumonia, and swelling of the brain (encephalopathy), which can lead to seizures and brain damage. Pertussis can also cause death (rarely), especially in very young infants.

Show All Answers

1. What is pertussis?
2. Who gets pertussis?
3. How is pertussis spread?
4. What are the symptoms of pertussis?
5. How soon do symptoms occur?
6. How is pertussis diagnosed?
7. What is the treatment for pertussis?
8. How long is an infected person infectious to others?
9. Should an infected person be excluded from work or school?
10. How can pertussis be prevented?
11. Are there any side effects to the pertussis vaccine?