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Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways. The medical term for whooping cough is pertussis.
Symptoms of whooping cough
Whooping cough tends to develop in stages, with mild symptoms occurring first, followed by a period of more severe symptoms, before improvement begins.
Causes of whooping cough
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. The bacterium infects the lining of the airways and lungs.
Diagnosing whooping cough
See your GP as soon as possible if you think that you or your child may have whooping cough. Your GP will usually be able to diagnose whooping cough by asking
Treating whooping cough
Young babies (less than a year old) with whooping cough may need hospital treatment to avoid developing complications.
Complications of whooping cough
Babies and young children are usually most severely affected by whooping cough. They are most likely to develop severe complications such as pneumonia.
Preventing whooping cough
The whooping cough vaccine is given as part of the 5-in-1 vaccine (DTaP/IPV/Hib).