Can Pertussis Whooping Cough Cause Injury and/or Death?

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Can Pertussis Whooping Cough Cause Injury and/or Death?

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There is a gap in medical knowledge in terms of predicting who will have a mild case of B. pertussis whooping cough and who will have a serious or even fatal case of this disease. Pertussis can be quite serious, especially for young infants, whose tiny air passages can become clogged with thick mucous. Babies and very young children are at highest risk for apnea, pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy, and death. The most serious complication of both whooping cough disease (and pertussis vaccine) is brain inflammation leading to varying degrees of permanent brain dysfunction. Pertussis toxin (PT) is one of the most lethal toxins in nature. The toxin induces lymphocytosis, leukocytosis, stimulates insulin secreton and sensitizes histamine, which is involved in the immune system’s inflammatory response. Pertussis toxin is thought to be the main component of B pertussis bacteria responsible for stimulating the production of protective antibodies during natural whooping cough infection and af

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