Pertussis Is Actually Still Alive and Well

Many parents believe that pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease of the past. Nevertheless, it is still a common cause of chronic cough.

I have spoken with several parents who believed that pertussis, or whooping cough, is a disease of the past. Nevertheless, it is a common cause of chronic cough illness in adults and older children. It is still very much alive and well.

A study published in the June 15, 2001 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases found that pertussis was the cause of chronic cough in 19.9% of the patients studied.

For healthy teens and adults, this is usually nothing more than a long nuisance (lasting months, sometimes with vomiting). For babies and those at high risk, it can be severe or even life threatening.

Published on: July 19, 2001
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Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.
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