L11 — March 2011 — Whooping Cough
Intro: Whooping cough. It's a bacterial infection that's risen to epidemic levels in some parts of the U.S. In adults, the symptoms can be mild, but if the infection is spread to a baby who hasn't yet received a full course of vaccinations, whooping cough can be very serious. Here's more on how to handle this disease.
21-month-old Pedro Esqueda's symptoms started out like those of a typical cold.
He had a little runny nose and started having a little cough, and I just thought he caught something.
But over the next four to five days, Pedro's mom, Chelsi, says the cough got much worse.
It was like nothing I ever heard before. (sound) He was coughing, doing the whoop, and he would vomit.
And he couldn't catch his breath. When they took Pedro to the doctor, the coughing had subsided, so they figured, maybe it was just a cold or some other infection.
But Chelsi knew there was something else wrong. So the next time Pedro had a coughing fit, her husband got it on video.
A nurse practitioner saw it and diagnosed it right away.
She saw it and goes, "That's pertussis. That's definitely pertussis."
Whooping cough is also known as pertussis. It's caused by a bacterial infection that is spread from one person with whooping cough to another.
Dr. Thomas Boyce says whooping cough is particularly tough on kids younger than Pedro who haven't had the full course of vaccinations given at 2, 4 and 6 months.
They're particularly susceptible to getting the infection, and because of their small airway, they're particularly susceptible to having very severe disease.
You see, the infection happens in the airway, or trachea. The pertussis bacteria produce toxins that irritate and inflame the airway. This causes the severe, repeated cough that lasts for months.
They call it the 100-day cough.
Pedro and his entire family took antibiotics to treat the infection and prevent further spread. Now he's back to health after months of illness. (sound)
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Boyce says babies usually get whooping cough from adults who have a mild infection. He says that's why it's important for adults to get booster vaccines every 10 years. Ask your doctor for the tetanus-diphtheria shot that also includes a pertussis booster.
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