Whooping cough is a very contagious disease characterized by strong coughing fits. It is caused by bacteria traveling in droplets thrown into the air by an infected person, for example, when they cough or sneeze. In Quebec, there are between 240 and 1,600 cases of pertussis each year.
Usually, the infection starts with the following symptoms:
- mild fever;
- runny nose;
- redness of the eyes, accompanied by tearing
- cough (This cough becomes stronger and more frequent after 7-14 days.
After a fit of coughing, the infected person may, while breathing in, make a rooster-crowing noise. This is the reason why the name "pertussis" has been given to this disease. The person may then vomit or stop breathing for a while.)
The disease is more serious in babies less than 1 year old. In the latter, the cough may be mild or even absent. Sometimes the main symptom is the presence of apnea, that is, pauses in breathing.
Symptoms usually appear 5 to 10 days, sometimes even 21 days, after infection. Whooping cough lasts 6 to 10 weeks. However, it can last more than 10 weeks in adolescents.
Source: Quebec Ministry of Health