Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
John Mersch, MD, FAAP
Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
In this Article
- Whooping cough (pertussis) facts
- What is whooping cough? What is the history of whooping cough?
- What causes whooping cough?
- Is whooping cough contagious?
- What is the contagious period for whooping cough?
- What are risk factors for whooping cough?
- How long does the whooping cough vaccine last?
- What is the incubation period for whooping cough?
- What are whooping cough symptoms, signs, and stages?
- How long does whooping cough last?
- What does whooping cough sound like?
- How is whooping cough transmitted?
- Can adults get whooping cough?
- What specialists treat whooping cough?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose whooping cough?
- What is the treatment for whooping cough?
- What is the prognosis for whooping cough?
- What are possible complications of whooping cough?
- Is it possible to prevent whooping cough? Is there a whooping cough vaccine?
- Where can people find more information about whooping cough (pertussis)?
What causes whooping cough?
Whooping cough is caused by an infection by a bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis. The bacteria attach to the lining of the airways in the upper respiratory system and release toxins that lead to inflammation and swelling.
Most people acquire the bacteria by breathing in the bacteria that are present in droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Is whooping cough contagious?
The infection is very contagious is often is spread to infants by family members or caregivers who may be in the early stages of infection and not realize that they are suffering from whooping cough.
What is the contagious period for whooping cough?
A person infected with pertussis is highly contagious (can spread the infection to others) from the onset of symptoms to around three weeks after the onset of the coughing episodes. If antibiotic treatment is given, the contagious period is reduced to about five days.
What are risk factors for whooping cough?
Whooping cough can infect anyone. Unimmunized or incompletely immunized young infants are particularly vulnerable to the infection and its complications, which can include pneumonia and seizures. Infants who contract whooping cough may also experience episodes of apnea (cessation of breathing). The infection occurs worldwide, even in countries with well-developed vaccination programs. Adults may develop pertussis because the immunity from childhood vaccinations can wear off over time.
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