Pertussis (whooping cough)

Causes

What causes pertussis? How is it spread?

The bacterium Bordetella pertussis causes pertussis. It is spread easily through droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing by an infected person. Indirect spread through contaminated objects occurs rarely, if at all. Anyone can catch pertussis and spread it.

Pertussis is most contagious during the first two weeks after coughing starts. People are no longer contagious after 5 days of appropriate antibiotic treatment.

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