Symptoms of Pertussis
Pertussis is an acute infectious disease of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is no longer a purely infantile disease because it is increasing in young people and adults. At present, approximately 90% of school-age children are vaccinated.
Whooping cough is transmitted through sneezing or coughing. The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a cold: mucus, sneezing, hoarseness and mild cough. Coughing attacks are characteristic of whooping cough which occur after about two weeks. Number of pertussis cases increases in autumn and winter.
After the start of the treatment of whooping cough with antibiotics, it takes about five days until the patients stop being contagious. By using a vaccine, there is effective protection against whooping cough. Young people and adults should think of a dose of remembrance of vaccination, because the immunity conferred by vaccination lasts only about four to 12 years. After a natural illness, there are four to 20 years of immunity.
Pertussis is an acute bacterial infection of the respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. This pathology is very contagious and fatal coug attacks are are typical in babies.
What Causes Pertussis
The cause of whooping cough (pertussis) is an infection of the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, which multiplies in the mucous membranes of the human respiratory tract and secretes a specific poison: the pertussis toxin (TP) which causes the symptoms of the disease. The poison destroys the mucous membranes, damages the surrounding tissue and weakens the immune system.
Infection with Bordetella parapertussis can also cause pertussis-like symptoms. However, the disease is usually milder and shorter than whooping cough.
Pertussis is very contagious: approximately 80% of unvaccinated people who are in contact with the pathogen develop the disease. The bacterium Bordetella pertussis that triggers the pertussis is spread by droplets of saliva when coughing, sneezing, kissing and sharing the same dishes.
After the infection it takes about 7 to 20 days until the first symptoms appear (incubation period). After the end of the incubation period, the risk of being infected is higher and decreases slowly after the sixth week of the disease. Anyone who has had whooping cough enjoys after several years of immunity to the disease. The protection does not last a lifetime so a dose of the vaccine is recommended.
What Are The Synptoms Of Pertussis?
Pertussis is divided into three phases according to symptoms. In total, the illness lasts from several weeks to several months.
Phase similar to cold (catarrhal phase)
The catarrhal phase lasts from one to two weeks. During this period, patients have symptoms that resemble a common cold. These are, for example, the following:
- Runny nose
- Hoarseness at times
- Slight fever
- Mild cough, which gradually causes coughing
- Seizure phase
The paroxysmal stage can last from three to six weeks. Typical symptoms of this stage are as follows:
- Typical coughing cough attacks (with sudden and brief bursts)
- Hard and crystalline secretion
- Repeated and violent cough cough and vomiting attacks
- Increased discomfort at night
- Rarely fever
Approximately half of the children begin to pant at the end of a coughing attack, which is why the term pertussis is used. After the cough there may be vomiting and sharp sound which is sound similar to a gasp produced by partial closure of the vocal cords (glottis).
Young people and adults often have less discomfort than children. Often, they do not have the typical characteristics of the disease and pertussis is expressed exclusively with coughing for an extended period.
Recovery phase (decremental phase)
The decremental phase is the last phase of the disease, in which the symptoms slowly weaken. Discomfort usually subsides gradually after six to ten weeks.
How is Pertussis Diaognosed?
In whooping cough (pertussis), diagnosis is usually based on characteristic coughing attacks.
In the early stages of infection, doctor can detect the bacterium Bordetella pertussis that causes whooping cough through a sample of the pharynx. However, this method is not always successful, because the pathogen is very sensitive and is not usually detected in the laboratory.
In the nose and throat secretions, the agent can also be recognized using a special method: the so-called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which can divide the DNA of the pathogen and allow it to be studied. This procedure is very difficult and involves high costs.
In the later course of whooping cough, the bacterium can be detected by antibodies in the blood. However, this is only possible in the first phase of attack (paroxysmal phase).
How is Pertussis Treated?
Pertussis is indicated for early treatment with antibiotics. If antibiotic treatment is started earlier, healing process becomes faster and easier.
Once a person has been infected with the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, it can no longer prevent the outbreak of the disease. Antibiotics do not relieve symptoms, but will nevertheless ensure that the person is less contagious. It takes about five days to start treatment until the risk of infection disappears. Babies need to be hospitalized because they often can not expel phlegm on their own, so they need a means of suction.
There are simple steps to relieve the symptoms of whooping cough at home as:
- Quiet atmosphere
- The patient should drink plenty of fluids and eat small portions of food frequently
- Coughing attacks occur mainly at night and for this reason, fresh and moist air must be provided, for example by hanging wet towels in the room
Whooping cough (pertussis) usually has a long evolution that can last from a few weeks to several months. In babies, whooping cough is often more difficult, because coughing attacks are less pronounced they can cause apnea. In addition, in the first year of life complications can develop, such as the following:
- Pulmonary infection (pneumonia)
- Middle ear inflammation (otitis media)
- Abnormal widening of the bronchi (bronchiectasis)
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) that can cause seizures
How To Prevent Pertussis
Pertussis can be effectively prevented with a vaccine. You should also avoid contact with infected persons to reduce the likelihood of infection.
Pertussis (pertussis) can be effectively prevented with a vaccine. You should also avoid contact with infected persons to reduce the likelihood of infection.
In order to be protected against whooping cough, it is necessary firstly the so-called basic vaccination, which consists of several phases.
The doctor usually combines vaccines and renewals in a tetanus and diphtheria vaccine
Vaccination 1- 3: the first 3 pertussis vaccines should be carried out at the age of 2, 4 and 6 months
Vaccination 4: To complete the primary series, at 18 months, another vaccine is required
Reinforcement 1 at the age of 4 to 6 years
Reinforcement 2 at the age of 10 to 17 years
Newborns and pregnant women should receive one Doses of pertussis vaccine 4 weeks before the child’s birth, if they have not been vaccinated in the last decade against whooping cough. Mothers who have not undergone any renovation prior to conception should preferably be vaccinated the first few days after the child is born.