Whooping cough which is also known as Pertussis is caused by infection by the Bordetella Pertussis bacteria. It is a highly contagious bacterial disease that affects the respiratory system and produces spasms of coughing that usually end in a high-pitched whooping sound. In this report I will describe how Pertussis is spread, contracted, what treatments are available for it and the prognosis for the patient. I will also tell you about the many symptoms of the disease.
Pertussis is caused by Bordetella Pertussis the bacteria invades the nose and throat and then the trachea followed by the bronchial tubes of the lungs.
People usually contract the bacteria through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Then people inhale or come in contact with the infected saliva. People who have been immunized in the past may still develop infection but it is usually atypical or very mild that is another cause of whooping cough. The incubation period is usually about 7 days.
Pertussis is a round shaped gram positive bacteria. Some of the symptoms of Pertussis include runny nose, coughing that may be dry or may produce sputum. Along with a fever usually 102F or lower. Severe coughing attacks that ends in a high-pitched crowing sound when inhaling or it will end in a high-pitched “whoop”. The coughing spells may end in a momentary loss of consciousness and or vomiting. It also results in difficulty at breathing. It also can cause some people to have diarrhea. When some small infants have long spells of coughing they usually begin to cry which causes them to choke on there own tears. Pertussis can be treated by DtaP which is a vaccine that protects children against the disease. During epidemics, health care providers or others at risk may be advised to receive a booster dose of the vaccine. The immunization is not 100 percent effective and has slowly becomes less effective over the past few years. Some tests that can be performed to tell if a person has contracted are to take a culture of the secretions from the nose and mouth and throat. A complete blood count or CBC which measures the number of red blood cells and white blood cells in the blood. If there is an with an elevated number of white blood cell count characterized by large numbers of lymphocytes. There are also serologic tests for Pertussis.
The Treatments include Erythromycin which is an antibiotic that is administered and may shorten the duration of the symptoms. Infants under 18 months of age require constant supervision because breathing may temporarily stop during spells of sever coughing. Infants with severe cases should be hospitalized. An oxygen tent with high humidity may be used. Intravenous fluid may be given if coughing spells are severe enough to prevent enough fluid intake by mouth. Sedatives may also be prescribed for young children. Cough suppressants are usually not helpful and should not be used.
The prognosis for a person who leaves Pertussis untreated in infants has a poor outcome. The disease has a one percent to 2 percent death rate. Death may occur from lack of oxygen to the brain and bronchopneumonia. Some other complications that may occur are slowed or stopped breathing, nose bleeds, pneumonia, convulsions which are caused by a lack of oxygen and can cause permanent brain damage. Some of the more serious effects are anoxic encephalopathy, cerebral hemorrhage, seizures and developmental retardation.
In Ethiopia rural doctors give a vaccination for Pertussis to people in street markets in an effort to increase the immunity rate of their country. Pertussis has becomes an epidemic about every 2-4 years. It usually affects non-immunized children with a history of contact to the bacteria the most.
When I think of Whooping cough I don’t think of it as a major epidemic. The reason why I believe this is because there is not much information on the subject and I had a very difficult time finding pictures of the bacteria and its effects. I suppose that if 10 out of every 100,000 people are infected with it then it must not be a very large problem. The disease doesn’t to seem to have very sever side effects if it is left untreated. I am almost certain that in a few more years Whooping cough will disappear.
My opinion is a little different than Matts but in some ways I feel the same. First off I do agree that in this day and age it is not a sever problem and can only infect a very small amount of the population. But on the other hand I think that perhaps in third world countries it may be a rampid problem do to the fact that most people aren’t immunized against it. Even then the only people who are usually effected by the disease are children under 2 years old. They are the main targets of this disease because they don’t have an adequate immune systems to fight of the bacteria. Now maybe back in the 1900’s Whooping cough would of been an epidemic because of their very limited amount of technology and they wouldn’t of known how to treat the disease or how to contain it. With all this in mind I think that Whooping cough is not a serious problem and like Matt said in a few years I think the disease will die off and Whooping cough will be a thing of the past.
Morphology: Physical charstics of a pathogen.
Diagnosis: What symptoms the pathogen shows and what tests can be performed to detect the disease.
Prognosis: What the doctor predicts the out come will be.
Erythromycin: A antibiotic used to shorten the duration of the symptoms of Whooping cough.
CBC: A measurement of the number of red and white blood cells in the plasma.
DtaP: A vaccine that protects children against the Whooping Cough.
The Morit students Encyclopedia Volume 19
Holt science Biology book visualizing life
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