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Whooping cough (pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

In many people, whooping cough (pertussis) is marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whoop."

Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded.

Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants. That's why it's so important for pregnant women - and other people who will have close contact with an infant - to be vaccinated against whooping cough.

Symptoms

Once you become infected with whooping cough, it takes about seven to 10 days for signs and symptoms to appear, though it can sometimes take longer. They're usually mild at first and resemble those of a common cold:

Runny nose

 

Nasal congestion

Red, watery eyes

Fever

Cough

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