Pathophysiology: Pertussis is an acute infectious disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. In the 20th century, pertussis was one of the most common childhood diseases and a major cause of childhood mortality in the United States. Pertussis is primarily a toxin-mediated disease. 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 Switzerland.
Disease statistics: Pertussis is generally treated with antibiotics, which are used to control the symptoms and to prevent infected people from spreading the disease. In 2012, the most recent peak year, 48,277 cases of pertussis were reported in the United States, but many more go undiagnosed and unreported. This is the largest number of cases reported in the United States since 1955 when 62,786 cases were reported. Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of pertussis in the United States.
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.