Whooping cough is a worldwide infectious disease caused by the bacteria B. pertussis and B. parapertussis. Incidence is highest in children under five except where infant vaccination programs have been very effective and a shift has occurred to adolescents. Whooping cough is not only a childhood disease. Routine mass vaccination of infants and children has been effective in decreasing the mortality and morbidity of the disease in children but has not eliminated the circulation of B. pertussis. The older children and adolescences can then become a source of infection for neonates and young infants who have not yet completed their vaccination schedules. It is dramatic for neonates and infants but can be very severe for children and adults.Two weeks after the beginning of the cough it becomes very difficult to isolate the bacteria, suggesting that most of the symptoms are due to toxins released by the bacteria.
Last date updated on September, 2014