whooping cough

whooping cough
an acute highly infectious disease usually caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, primarily affecting infants and often occurring in epidemics. After an incubation period of 1–2 weeks there is a catarrhal stage, in which the infant has signs of an upper respiratory tract infection; transmission is through droplet spread. This is followed by an irritating cough that gradually becomes paroxysmal within 1–2 weeks. The paroxysms are followed by a characteristic whoop and vomiting. In the very young the classical whoop may not develop and instead the paroxysms may be followed by periods of apnoea. The illness can last 2–3 months, giving it the name ‘the cough of 100 days’ in some countries. Infection can be complicated by bronchopneumonia, weight loss due to repeated vomiting, bronchiectasis, and convulsions due to asphyxia or bleeding into the brain tissue. Minor complications include subconjunctival haemorrhage, epistaxis (nosebleed), facial oedema, and ulceration of the tongue.
Immunization against the infection was introduced in the UK in the 1950s and offers protection. An attack usually confers lifelong immunity. Despite good vaccine coverage resulting in the current low levels of disease, whooping cough is still a significant cause of illness and death in the very young.
Medical names:
pertussis.

The new mediacal dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Whooping cough — Whooping Whoop ing, a. & n. from {Whoop}, v. t. [1913 Webster] {Whooping cough} (Med.), a violent, convulsive cough, returning at longer or shorter intervals, and consisting of several expirations, followed by a sonorous inspiration, or whoop;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • whooping cough — ► NOUN ▪ a contagious bacterial disease chiefly affecting children, characterized by convulsive coughs followed by a whoop …   English terms dictionary

  • whooping cough — [ho͞o′piŋ, hwo͞o′piŋ; hoop′iŋ] n. an acute infectious disease, usually affecting children, caused by a bacillus (Bordetella pertussis) and characterized by a mucous discharge from the nose and later by repeated attacks of coughing that end in a… …   English World dictionary

  • whooping cough — /hooh ping, hoop ing/, Pathol. an infectious disease of the respiratory mucous membrane, caused by Bordetella pertussis, characterized by a series of short, convulsive coughs followed by a deep inspiration accompanied by a whooping sound. Also… …   Universalium

  • whooping cough — n. to catch (the) whooping cough * * * [ huːpɪŋkɒf] to catch (the) whooping cough …   Combinatory dictionary

  • Whooping cough — Also known as pertussis, this is a feared infectious disease that can strike the respiratory system and affect other organs of the body. It has three stages—an initial stage with watery runny nose and eyes, a progressive cough stage with… …   Medical dictionary

  • whooping cough — [[t]hu͟ːpɪŋ kɒf, AM kɔːf[/t]] N UNCOUNT Whooping cough is a serious infectious disease which causes people to cough and make a loud noise when they breathe in …   English dictionary

  • whooping cough — A serious bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes that spreads easily. Whooping cough begins like a cold, but develops into severe coughing and gasping for air. Long spells of coughing may cause vomiting, and broken blood vessels in… …   English dictionary of cancer terms

  • whooping cough — whoop′ing cough [[t]ˈhu pɪŋ, ˈhʊp ɪŋ[/t]] n. pat an infectious disease of the respiratory mucous membrane caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis and characterized by a series of short, convulsive coughs followed by a whooping intake of… …   From formal English to slang

  • whooping cough — whoop|ing cough [ˈhu:pıŋ kɔf US ko:f] n [U] an infectious disease that especially affects children, and makes them cough and have difficulty breathing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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