Herzing University- Madison, WI
Bordetella pertussis, commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a “highly contagious infection with an 80% transmission rate in susceptible close contacts” (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010). Generally speaking, infants and adolescents act as the reservoirs for this disease, but it can also be found in adults. Often, the symptoms of this disease may be mistaken for an upper respiratory infection; therefore, it is not uncommon for pertussis infections to remain undiagnosed. Recently, there has been a rising emergence and incidence of pertussis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “In 2009, nearly 17,000 cases of pertussis were reported in the U.S., but many more go undiagnosed and unreported” (CDC, 2010). The increase of pertussis outbreaks emerge from a lack of education and proper vaccination. Pertussis is the only vaccine-preventable infection, therefore it is vital that health care providers as well as individuals and families become aware of this infection, its’ diagnosis, and proper treatment. Bordetella pertussis is transmitted from person to person via respiratory secretion droplets. The bacteria act by attaching to and then damaging the cilia lining the respiratory tract; the toxins produced by pertussis paralyze the cilia, causing inflammation and interfering with mucus secretion and clearance (CDC, 2010). Once infection has occurred, it is important to treat individuals that remain contagious with antibiotics to reduce communicability (CDC, 2010). The incubation period is generally 7-10 days but can vary from person to person, ranging from a few days to several weeks (Hood, 2008). Frequently, infected individuals remain undiagnosed and act as transmitters, infecting the general public. With such a wide range of contamination, it is vital that individuals are made aware of the symptoms that...
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2010). Pertussis (whopping cough). Retrieved January 20, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/index.html
Weber, C. (2007). Infectious dis-ease. Update on vaccination against pertussis. Urologic Nursing, 27(2), 155-156. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/search/basic?hid=119&sid=29ffb865-4ae5-4d55-a030-04c93e6ac92c%40sessionmgr104&vid=1
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