A disease of the respiratory mucous membrane; SYN. pertussis.
Or pertussis; Acute infectious disease, seen mainly in children, caused by colonization of the air passages by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. There may be catarrh, mild fever, and loss of appetite, but the main symptom is violent coughing, associated with the sharp intake of breath that is the characteristic “whoop”, and often followed by vomiting and severe nose bleeds. The cough may persist for weeks.
Although debilitating, the disease is seldom serious in older children, but infants are at risk both from the illness itself and from susceptibility to other conditions, such as pneumonia. Immunization lessens the incidence and severity of whooping cough. New vaccines are being developed in the hope of replacing the existing “killed” version, which is associated with side effects such as convulsions and fever. whoopingcough, whooping-cough