Friday, December 27, 2013


Contributed by  Betsey Miller, CRNP, PinnacleHealth Medical Group

I was lying awake, listening to my son cough – again. How many nights had it been?  I was trying to count them up in my head and remember when his cough had first started.  Had it been two weeks or three? My thoughts were interrupted by another coughing fit.  I went in to check on him.   He was sitting up now, gasping for air in between fits of coughing.  Tomorrow, I promised myself.  Tomorrow I would call for an appointment. 

When it comes to my kids, I’m a mother first.  But I’m also a family nurse practitioner.  And as I settled us both back to bed that night the list of possible diagnoses were running through my head.  As I thought about his coughing fits and the length of time he’d been coughing, I couldn’t help but consider pertussis as a possibility.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious illness, characterized by severe coughing fits that can last for weeks.  It can be hard to detect initially, because its early symptoms are not unlike those of a common cold – runny nose, mild cough, low grade fever.  But as the disease progresses the coughing fits become more pronounced.  And the cough can last for up to 10 weeks!

Pertussis has made a resurgence in the last few years.  There are a number of reasons behind this, but the driving force has been a decreased immunity in our overall population.  Our children get immunized against pertussis as part of their routine immunization series as babies, but it is a series of immunizations, and they are not considered to be fully protected until they have completed the series at age 5.  Even then, no immunization is considered 100% perfect. However, studies have shown that immunization lessens the spread of the illness significantly.  Additionally, persons who become infected who were previously immunized have shorter courses of illness and do not become as sick.  

Because adults are more likely to transmit the illness, and because infants are the most susceptible, it is recommended that all caregivers of infants be updated with a Tdap vaccine.  Pregnant women are often offered this vaccine in their third trimester, or in the hospital shortly after delivery.  But other caregivers including fathers and grandparents should consider getting immunized too.  Pertussis infection in an infant can truly be a life threatening situation. 

As an adult, if you’re due for a tetanus shot, you should check to see if you need a pertussis booster.  If so, instead of getting just a plain tetanus shot (Td), you should consider getting an injection with pertussis (Tdap).  Remember, this will not only help to protect you from getting whooping cough, but it will also protect those around you. 

As for my son, I did take him to his primary care provider the following day.  He had a culture for pertussis, but thankfully it came back negative.  A chest xray showed pneumonia, but after a short course of antibiotics, he’s no longer coughing and is back to his old self!


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  4. pertussis is such a dangerous disease which is cause by bacterium Bordetella, Yes i am a pharmacist so that's why i know lot about this and my grand father had also have this disease

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    The article provides a thorough overview of Pertussis, discussing its causes, symptoms, and potential preventive measures. It highlights the importance of early detection and treatment, emphasizing the need for healthcare professionals for personalized advice. The article also provides a historical context of the disease and its impact on communities. It also discusses the effectiveness of vaccination strategies in preventing Pertussis and encourages readers to actively participate in public health by raising awareness and promoting vaccination.

  25. Betsey experienced persistent coughing in her son, but the culture for pertussis was negative and the pneumonia was treated promptly with antibiotics. The resurgence of pertussis is concerning, and the importance of vaccinations, especially for vulnerable infants, is crucial. The emphasis on updating vaccines like Tdap is important for both personal protection and preventing the spread of the illness to susceptible individuals. Balancing the roles of a mother and a healthcare professional can be challenging, as instincts may prioritize the child's well-being over professional knowledge. The experience highlights the challenges faced by parents in making decisions that affect their children's health. The awareness of the resurgence of pertussis and the importance of vaccinations is commendable, reminding everyone to stay up-to-date with immunizations for personal health and community well-being, especially infants. Betsey managed the emotional aspect of caring for her son while professionally evaluating his symptoms, which can be intense. abogado para reclamo flsa

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  27. Bordetella pertussis, the bacteria that causes whooping cough, is the cause of pertussis, a highly contagious respiratory illness. It mostly affects babies and early children, producing a distinctive "whooping" sound along with violent coughing spells. Although immunizations have greatly decreased the frequency of pertussis, sporadic outbreaks still pose a threat. Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals may experience particularly severe symptoms that can result in consequences like pneumonia, convulsions, and even death, especially in infants. In order to manage cases of pertussis and stop its spread throughout communities, early diagnosis and timely antibiotic treatment are essential. Vaccination continues to be the best line of defense against this potentially fatal illness.
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  28. This article highlights the seriousness of pertussis, particularly in infants, and the importance of vaccination for both children and adults to prevent its spread. The author's dual role as a mother and nurse practitioner adds a relatable touch, while practical advice, such as the recommendation for infants to receive the Tdap vaccine, enhances the educational value. The resurgence of pertussis cases in recent years emphasizes the need for maintaining high vaccination rates within communities. As a family nurse practitioner, the author has witnessed the impact of preventable diseases on individuals and families. By staying informed about recommended vaccines and ensuring timely immunizations, we can collectively work towards reducing the burden of pertussis and other vaccine-preventable illnesses in our communities. The evolving nature of infectious diseases necessitates ongoing vigilance and proactive measures to prevent outbreaks. Healthcare providers must remain vigilant in identifying and managing cases of pertussis promptly, as timely diagnosis and treatment contribute to the overall containment of the disease within communities. accidente de motocicleta

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    This summary discusses the importance of pertussis as a public health concern, its epidemiology, clinical manifestations, current diagnostic strategies, vaccine effectiveness, emerging challenges, management and treatment options, and the impact of outbreaks on healthcare systems and the community. It also discusses the economic implications of pertussis outbreaks and provides recommendations for future research and public health interventions to reduce the burden of the disease.

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