Pertussis commonly called whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease caused by Bordetella pertussis. In some countries, this disease is called the 100 days' cough or cough of 100 days. Symptoms are initially mild, and then develop into severe coughing fits, which produce the namesake high-pitched 'whoop' sound in infected babies and children when they inhale air after coughing. The coughing stage lasts approximately six weeks before subsiding. Prevention by vaccination is of primary importance because treatment is of little benefit to the person infected. However, antibiotics shorten the duration of infectiousness and are thus recommended. It is estimated that the disease currently affects 48.5 million people yearly, resulting in nearly 295,000 deaths. The classic signs of pertussis are a paroxysmal cough, inspiratory whoop, and vomiting after coughing.
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