Whooping cough (pertussis) kills babies!
Whooping cough is the result of infection with a bacterium called Bordetella pertussis. It is related to the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica, which causes kennel cough in dogs. In human beings, B. pertussis causes a respiratory infection. It tends to cause severe coughing. The coughing is often so severe that the person gasps afterwards. This gasp can make a whooping sound. The coughing can be so severe that the person can break ribs or suffer from bleeding into the eyes.
A person can catch B. pertussis more than once. The first case is usually the worst. Later cases may seem to be nothing more than an ordinary cold. Yet even people with a mild case can pass the germs on to a baby, who could die as a result.
Some babies with pertussis end up in the intensive care unit of the hospitals. Even with the best of care, the babies sometimes die. Some babies with pertussis simply stop breathing and die. In fact, pertussis is probably an important cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is also called cot death. One study found evidence of B. pertussis infection in 12 of 234 German babies who had died unexpectedly.
The immunity to pertussis lasts only a few years. That’s why adults should get booster a pertussis booster. These boosters are particularly important for pregnant women and for people who will have contact with babies. Today, the pertussis booster is combined with the tetanus-diphtheria booster shot.
Note that the pertussis vaccine was developed by public health workers, not by researchers working for the pharmaceutical industry: