Pertussis – also known as whooping cough or 100-day cough – is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The disease is airborne and spreads rapidly via the coughs and sneezes of infected people.
The classic symptoms of pertussis are paroxysmal cough with inspiratory whoop, fainting or vomiting after coughing. The cough from severe pertussis can cause subconjunctival haermorrhages, rib fractures, urinary incontinence, hernias and vertebral artery dissection. The coughing may last for ten or more weeks.