Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Experience

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What is whooping cough? What is the history of whooping cough?

Whooping cough is a bacterial upper respiratory infection that leads to episodes of violent coughing. The disease is named for the characteristic sound produced when affected individuals attempt to inhale; the whoop originates from the inflammation and swelling of the laryngeal structures (voice box) that vibrate when there is a rapid inflow of air during inspiration. Whooping cough is highly contagious.

The first outbreaks of whooping cough were described in the 16th century. The bacterium responsible for the infection, Bordetella pertussis, was not identified until 1906. In the pre-vaccination era (during the 1920s and '30s), there were over 250,000 cases of whooping cough per year in the U.S., with up to 9,000 deaths. In the 1940s, the pertussis vaccine, combined with diphtheria and tetanus toxoids (DTP), was introduced. By 1976, the incidence of whooping cough in the U.S. had decreased by over 99%.

During the 1980s, however, the incidence of whooping cough began to increase and has risen steadily, with epidemics typically occurring every three to five years in the U.S. In the epidemic of 2005, 25,616 cases were reported according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2008, over 13,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in the U.S., resulting in 18 deaths. In 2010, which included an epidemic in California (see below), 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported nationwide.

In 2012, over 48,000 cases of pertussis infection were reported in the U.S., the highest number of reported cases in one year since 1955.

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Comment from: Buncha, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 10

I suffered with cough syncope due to pertussis, or whooping cough as we all know it. Unfortunately, I lost my license due to two fainting episodes. To help you all, make sure you request a blood test to diagnose whooping cough, in my case it took two attempts and two doctors. However, by being treated early with azithromycin, it eliminated my cough and in turn the syncopal episodes. Hope this helps.

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Comment from: Peggy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 18

Although I haven't officially been diagnosed with whooping cough (WC), I know that's what it is. I've been sick since the end of January 2016. Initially I went to the general physician (GP) thinking I had a sinus infection and he prescribed a 10 day course of antibiotics. In retrospect I'm glad for the antibiotics since I wasn't contagious. I then developed this horrible cough where I would cough so violently I would sometimes throw up. I've been sleeping in a recliner for almost three months and I still wake up coughing. I'm exhausted and can barely make it to work where I sit at my desk and never get up, not even for lunch. I often lay my head down on my desk and sleep. My GP gave me another antibiotic, steroids, cough syrup with codeine, various inhalers, Tessalon Perles, and a nebulizer. Nothing has helped and I'm at my wit's end. I've also been to a pulmonologist and cardiologist. When I went back to the pulmonologist her husband who is the breathing technician told me that he, his wife and their grandchild had WC so I know it is around. I wonder why my doctor didn't think of this. He also sent me for a chest x-ray and his office called and told me it was clear. That's the last I heard from them. No follow up. After a bad fit last week I started googling and came across this and realized that's what I have. I don't know why doctors and medical centers aren't warning us about this. I would much rather have the flu any day over this yet all you hear about is to make sure you get your flu shot!

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