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Whooping Cough: Adults Can Fall Severely Ill To Pertussis Too

Date:
September 25, 2008
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is not just a childhood disease. The pathogen Bordetella pertussis is highly infectious and an infection may occur at any age. The risk of a pertussis infection can be greatly reduced by vaccination.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is not just a childhood disease. The pathogen Bordetella pertussis is highly infectious and an infection may occur at any age. The risk of a pertussis infection can be greatly reduced by vaccination, as Marion Riffelmann of the Krefeld Institute for Infectious Diseases and her colleagues report in a recent report.*

Pertussis is actually one of the classical diseases of childhood and mainly occurs in unvaccinated babies. The clinical course at this age may be severe; pertussis is the most frequent fatal infectious disease in newborns.

Nevertheless, the number of reported attacks of whooping cough in schoolchildren, adolescents and adults has markedly increased in recent years. Roughly 0.2% to 0.5% of adolescents and adults fall ill each year with pertussis and a protracted cough. About 25% of adult patients develop complications, such as seizures, inflammation of the middle ear or circulatory collapse.

Although the standard treatment with macrolide antibiotics interrupts the chain of infection, it does not influence the symptoms. According to Riffelmann et al., the most effective pertussis prophylaxis is vaccination with a combination vaccine. However, regular boosters are needed, as the vaccination protection continuously decreases after five years.

*This research is published in the current Deutsches Δrzteblatt International (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2008; 105(37): 623-8).


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The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Whooping Cough: Adults Can Fall Severely Ill To Pertussis Too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925083201.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2008, September 25). Whooping Cough: Adults Can Fall Severely Ill To Pertussis Too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925083201.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "Whooping Cough: Adults Can Fall Severely Ill To Pertussis Too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080925083201.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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