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Pertussis (whooping cough)


Pertussis or whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that mainly affects children.  It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis  and is characterized by coughing that usually ends in a long, high-pitched crowing sound when breathing in (the `whoop?). It is found in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person.  The disease was described as early as the fifteenth century and although is has a worldwide distribution, it is more common and causes more diseases and death in developing countries.  This disease is preventable by vaccination but continues to be major public health problem.  It is prevalent throughout the world with 40-50% of cases being younger than 1 year.


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