Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease that is potentially fatal, especially for any baby younger than 12 months of age. Pertussis can cause violent and rapid coughing, with a “whooping” sound between coughs, although this sound can be absent or minimal.
What may seem like the start of a common cold could actually be pertussis and can lead to more serious symptoms and complications. At the start, typical pertussis symptoms include:
After 1–2 weeks of these symptoms, severe coughing can begin and continue for weeks.