Whooping Cough

Topics: Pertussis, Vaccine, Bacteria Pages: 6 (2246 words) Published: April 13, 2013
Whooping Cough
Everyday parents tell their kids over and over again to “wash your hands!”, but how many kids do you think really listen to their parents? I know I never listened to them when it came to staying clean and keeping me healthy when I was younger and lived at home. Many people don’t understand how much washing your hands really helps prevent one from germs and catching diseases. The cleaner you try to keep yourself, the less likely your chances to catch a bad disease. One disease in particular is spread very easily among people. This infection is called Whooping Cough.

“Whooping cough, or pertussis, is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussi.” The reason for the name is because when you have this illness, the end of your cough has a “whooping” sound. The reason it creates this whooping sound is because of the “inflammation and swelling of the laryngeal structures that vibrate when there is a rapid inflow of air during inspiration.” When one has this infection, it usually last for months and even maybe years. The target person for whooping cough is most often infants or young children who are most sustainable to illnesses. Elderly people are also very likely to get this illness for the same reason as infants; their bodies are too weak to fight off diseases, so they are the ones who catch it the easiest. Mature bodies don’t catch diseases as easily and mature bodies are strong enough to fight most infections off. (Web MD)

The first outbreaks of Whooping Cough was discovered in the 16th century, but was not identified until 1906. During this time before a vaccination was available, there was over 250,000 cases per year just in the United States. There were also around 9,000 deaths. The first vaccination for Whooping Cough was introduced in the 1940s. After this was introduced, the cases of Whooping Cough decreased by 99% in the United States. It all started over again in the 1980s, though. The number of cases in the United States started to increase again, and is still rising to this day. The last epidemic recorded, in 2005, 25,616 cases had been reported by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, there were over 13,000 cases reported in the United States, which went on to result in 18 deaths. There was a particular case last year in California that was causing them to most likely be the state with the most cases and deaths due to whooping cough in the past fifty years! (http://www.medicinenet.com/pertussis/article.htm#tocb)

Whooping Cough can lead to many more serious illnesses if one doesn’t get treatment for it immediately. Pneumonia is the most common illness that it can lead to. One can also develop a hernia from such hard coughing. With good care of one’s body, whooping cough can be taken care of and cured semi quickly, it just depends on how one’s body reacts to it because everyone’s immune system is different. Like most diseases, you can get whooping cough numerous times. If you get the shots that are recommended, your chances are less likely to get it more than once.

How does one receive Whooping Cough? Whooping cough is caused by bacteria in your pharynx of your throat. This is where it meets one’s nasal passages that cause the bacteria to tickle the throat which in return causes the cough. Whooping cough is spread very from easily person to person. There are a lot of cases of Whooping Cough within athletic teams because the athletes are always around each other sick or not. Coughing, sneezing, laughing, yawning, spit, and just any kind of tiny bodily fluid is all it takes to get into the air and someone close by catch the infection. The smallest germ or pertussis bacteria can infect someone- touching a door handle, holding someone’s hand, a kiss, taking a breath around someone infected, this is one of the easiest diseases to spread. One doesn’t see symptoms of Whooping Cough until seven to fourteen...

Cited: http://children.webmd.com/tc/whooping-cough-pertussis-topic-overview
(Most of my research was from Web MD)
New York Times article online - http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/pertussis/overview.html?scp=1-spot&sq=Whooping%20Cough&st=cse
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