Pertussis Essay

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Pertussis Angela Maina Anatomy and Physiology July 17, 2011 Pertussis Pertussis is a small bacterium that infects the upper respiratory tract by embedding itself in mucus (Allen, 267). It is diagnosed by performing a swab test of the posterior pharyngeal wall and identifying B. Pertussis on selective media. A fluorescent antibody test is also used (Satpathy, 56). It is a highly contagious airborne bacterial infection that causes violent rapid coughing and a loud “whooping” sound upon inhalation (Murkoff, 16). Pertussis is also known as “whooping cough” due to the “whooping” sound a person makes. It creates a sticky, mucus in the airways, which make it hard to breathe, eat and drink. Infants turn blue due to difficult of breathing. The loud “whoop” sound is from the struggling to breathe through the narrowed airways between coughing spasms. It’s common in adults, adolescents, and even infants; but can be potentially fatal for infants (March). Leukocytosis, particularly WBC counts of more than 100,000, has been associated with fatalities from Pertussis. According to Arthur Allen, “Toxins released by the bacteria cripple white blood cells and cilia, the tiny hairs in the upper respiratory passages, and the cilia, through genetic programming, actually promote the growth and production of toxins by the bacteria (267). Whooping cough is the second most deadly respiratory tract pathogen. It ranges from being moderately to highly durable in the external environment (Edward, 75). It is spread through a sneeze or cough and is transmitted through droplets from the nose and throat. It is highly contagious during the first weeks of infection. There is an estimated of 800,000 to 3.3 million whooping cough causes each year in the United States. It has increased more than 100% during 2004 – 2007 compared to 2000 – 2003. 90% of reported deaths are among babies under four

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