Pertussis is a disease caused by a bacteria. It causes severe spells of coughing. These spells can interfere with eating, drinking, and breathing. Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and sometimes death. It is most common in infants less than one year old, but anyone can get it. It is also known as whopping cough because of the high-pitched whooping sound made when breathing in during coughing spells.
Vaccine is available against pertussis for children and since 2005 adults. If your infant has not completed their series of vaccine, you or your adolescent (age 11 and above) has not received a booster shot of tetanus since 2005 or received a Td instead of a Tdap which contains the pertussis vaccine, you may not be protected from this disease. Lifelong immunity is not obtained from having the disease. Immunity after disease is about 5 years, just like the vaccine.
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