Rapid Review: Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

July 20, 2017

Reviewed February 2024

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

  • History of nasal congestion, cough, and low-grade fever
  • Rapid-fire repetitive coughing followed by an inspiratory whoop and post-tussive emesis
  • Most commonly caused by Bordetella pertussis
  • Treatment is with azithromycin, TMP-SMX
  • Vaccination: DTaP in infants and young children, Tdap in older children and adults, Td booster

Sample Question:

A 2-year-old boy presents to the emergency department with a cough. For the past week, he has had a low-grade fever, cough, and a runny nose with itchy, red eyes. These symptoms have progressed to recurrent episodes of more severe coughing. The child is observed to have episodes of severe coughing followed by a sudden, deep inspiratory breath. The child has no significant medical history, is homeschooled, and has not received vaccinations. Chest X-ray imaging is unremarkable. Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?

By Yehuda Wolf, MPA, PA-C

Comments (0)