Diseases Home > Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Also called pertussis, whooping cough is an infection of the respiratory system caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. A person with the condition will typically have severe coughing spells that may end in a "whooping" sound when he or she inhales.
Besides the classic "whooping" sound, a person may also experience symptoms such as:
  • Fits of coughing that seem to go on and on
  • Severe coughing that leads to vomiting, which may make it difficult for a person to eat or drink
  • Skin turning blue during coughing episodes.
Treatment usually involves antibiotics and supportive care (relieving symptoms and complications as the body fights the infection).
(To learn more about this condition, click Whooping Cough. This article talks in more detail about the symptoms of this infection, as well as possible complications, ways to prevent it, how it is transmitted, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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