It is an acute infectious disease common among the young children in our country it occurs endemically and epidemically. The causative organism is a bacillus called as ‘Bacillus pertussis’ that effects the respiratory tract mainly trachea and bronchi. 11 incubation periods for this is usually 7 to 14 days, but not 3 weeks.
Initially there is fever along with cough and cold. After few days, the child starts coughing. There are bouts of coughing followed by whooping (crowing noise) later on. The eyes and face become red while coughing. The child is unable to feed properly. Sometimes the child vomits after coughing. The child looses weight and suffers from malnourishment.
Mode of spread
Whooping cough is spread mainly by droplet infection and direct contact. When a child suffering from whooping cough sneezes or coughs, bacteria are dispersed in the air. When other healthy children breaths, these bacteria enter their bodies and infect them. Most children acquire infection from their playmates that are in the early stages of the disease.
Doctor should be consulted as soon as the symptoms are visible since, only complete and proper treatment can cure whooping cough. All types of food, cooked at home should be given to the child. If the child is being breast fed, he/she must be continued to be fed as usual.
The child must be given triple vaccine (DPT) at the age of 11/2, 21/2 and 31/2 months of age. Early diagnosis, isolation and treatment of cases and disinfection of discharges from nose and throat are required to prevent and control whooping cough. A booster dose of DPT should be given between the ages of 18-24 months.