The aim of this article is to highlight strategies to recognise, assess, manage and prevent whooping cough. After reading this article and completing the time out activities you should be able to:
Describe the aetiology and epidemiology of whooping cough.
Identify individuals at increased risk of developing whooping cough and associated complications.
Discuss the identification, assessment and management of individuals with whooping cough.
Outline the role of vaccination in the prevention of whooping cough.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is an acute and highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract caused by Bordetella pertussis (Zhang et al 2012). Classic pertussis is characterised by paroxysms of coughing,
inspiratory whoop and post-tussive vomiting (Teng and Wang 2012). Pertussis means violent cough (Ministry of Health 2011) and was known as ‘the cough of 100 days’, emphasising its prolonged nature (Teng and Wang 2012).
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