Pertussis history and symptoms

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Serge Korjian M.D.; Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2]; Yazan Daaboul, M.D.

Pertussis Microchapters


Patient Information


Historical Perspective



Differentiating Pertussis from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors

Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

Chest X Ray

Other Diagnostic Studies


Medical Therapy

Primary Prevention

Secondary Prevention

Cost-Effectiveness of Therapy

Future or Investigational Therapies

Case Studies

Case #1

Pertussis history and symptoms On the Web

Most recent articles

Most cited articles

Review articles

CME Programs

Powerpoint slides


American Roentgen Ray Society Images of Pertussis history and symptoms

All Images
Echo & Ultrasound
CT Images

Ongoing Trials at Clinical

US National Guidelines Clearinghouse

NICE Guidance

FDA on Pertussis history and symptoms

CDC onPertussis history and symptoms

Pertussis history and symptoms in the news

Blogs on Pertussis history and symptoms

Directions to Hospitals Treating Type page name here

Risk calculators and risk factors for Pertussis history and symptoms


Initially, symptoms of pertussis include cough, sneezing, and runny nose. After one to two weeks, the cough changes character, and patients typically experience whooping cough, which are paroxysms of violent coughing followed by an inspiratory "whooping" sound.


  • The clinical course of the illness is divided into three stages: catarrhal, paroxysmal and convalescent.
  • The symptoms vary among stages with the paroxysmal stage being the most severe.
  • Pertussis is a prolonged illness that can last from a few weeks to several months.

The table below summarizes the key symptoms in each stage.[1]

Stage Key Symptoms
(4-21 days)
(1-10 weeks)
  • Paroxysms of rapid coughs with long inspiratory effort & high-pitched "whoop" at the end of the paroxysms
  • More frequently at night
(4-21 days)
  • Persistence of paroxysmal coughs, but less frequently

Pertussis in Adults

  • Although pertussis may manifest similarly in adults, a significant number of cases may have a atypical presentation.
  • This may be attributed to the fact that the majority of adults have some form of residual immunity from their childhood vaccinations.
  • Symptoms may be shorter in duration, and patients may not follow the regular stages of the illness.
  • Atypical symptoms in adults include sweating attacks, syncope, and encephalopathy.[2]


  1. Pertussis Clinical Features. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Accessed on January 14, 2016.
  2. von König CH, Halperin S, Riffelmann M, Guiso N (2002). "Pertussis of adults and infants". Lancet Infect Dis. 2 (12): 744–50. PMID 12467690.

Template:WH Template:WS