Pertussis, often called whooping cough, is caused by a bacterial infection. While infants have the greatest chance of getting whooping cough, the illness can be contracted at any age. In general, whooping cough starts off like a common cold. Symptoms can include runny nose, low-grade fever, tiredness, and a mild or occasional cough. Over time, coughing spells become more severe. Coughing may last for several weeks, sometimes 10 weeks or longer.
No big whoop: Adult pertussis may not produce the whooping cough
Whooping cough in adults: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious condition. This infection is most common in infants, but people of all ages can contract it. Whooping cough symptoms tend to be less severe in adults than in children. Unvaccinated infants have the highest risk of developing severe symptoms and complications from whooping cough.
Signs and Symptoms
Whooping cough pertussis is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. In many people, it's marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake of breath that sounds like "whoop. Before the vaccine was developed, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease. Now whooping cough primarily affects children too young to have completed the full course of vaccinations and teenagers and adults whose immunity has faded. Deaths associated with whooping cough are rare but most commonly occur in infants.
Back to Health A to Z. Whooping cough also called pertussis is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes. It spreads very easily. Whooping cough can spread very easily. It's best to call the GP before you go in.