Pathophysiology: In the 20th century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood mortality in the United States. The bacteria attach to the cilia of the respiratory epithelial cells, produce toxins that paralyze the cilia, and cause inflammation of the respiratory tract, which interferes with the clearing of pulmonary secretions. Until recently, it was thought that B. pertussis did not invade the tissues; however, recent studies have suggested that the bacteria are present in alveolar macrophages in Singapore.
Disease statistics: Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease. Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million cases of pertussis and about 195,000 deaths per year. In 2012, the most recent peak year, 48,277 cases of pertussis were reported in the United States. In 2010, an increase in reported cases among 7 through 10 year olds was seen.
Treatment: It's a bacterial infection, so it can be treated with antibiotics, usually erythromycin or a family of antibiotics like erythromycin. Erythromycin is taken for 2 weeks. If antibiotics are recommended, they should take all the doses and finish the recommended course.
Research: Pertussis, a highly contagious disease of the respiratory tract, is caused by exposure to bacteria (Bordetella pertussis) found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. Pertussis is primarily spread by direct contact with discharge from the nose or throat of infected individuals.