Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

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by Ashlyn217
Last updated 11 years ago

Human Anatomy

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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)


Pertussis is caused by the bacteria "Bordella pertussis". This bacteria is transmitted from person to person through close contact with aerosolized droplets. B. pertussis invades and damages the airway and alveoli, therefore affecting the respiratory system. There are around 20-40 million cases of pertussis annually. Pertussis mainly affects children under 5.


Symptoms of Pertussis:-Coughing with the “whoop noise” -Vomiting-Cyanosis-Apnea-Blueness of the skin-Fatigue-Sneezing-Runny nose-Poor appetite

Pertussis affects the respiratory system. The bacteria invades the respiratory tract and damages cells with cilia. Mucus gathers where it should not, creating a coughing reflex. While the physiology of the respiratory tract is altered, the anatomy of it is not. Pertussis also affects other systems, such as the nervous system, because all systems require oxygen in one way or another. Pertussis can limit the amount of oxygen an individual gets through intense coughing. Due to this, body functions can malfunction. Lastly, immunological responses associated with pertussis include an increase in leukocytes.


The most accurate method of diagnosis is to culture (grow on a laboratory plate) the organisms obtained from swabbing mucus out of the nasopharynx. B. pertussis can then be identified during microscopic examination of the culture. Another test is serologic testing, which helps find an increase in leukocytes. However, it is not as accurate as culture organisms.


99% of people do not die from pertussis. However, 1% of people die after about 3 months.Pertussis can be cured through antibiotics. Complications that can occur from getting pertussis include other infections, such an pneumonia, and metabolic problems arising from excessive vomiting.


A 14-day course of erythromycin is the first-line choice for both treatment and prophylaxis of pertussis. Also available is a 5 day course of azithromycin ora 7 day course of clarithromycin. To prevent pertussis altogether, it is standard in the US for infants to receive a vaccination called DPT, short for Diphtheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus shot.


(aka Whooping Cough)


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